IPL cancellation on cards after three-week lockdown and Olympic postponement
The cancellation of this year's IPL looks inevitable with the BCCI under tremendous pressure after the declaration of a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
When the BCCI postponed the IPL to April 15 earlier this month, it said conducting the tournament would only come into the picture if the pandemic subsides. However, there hasn't been any remarkable change in the situation with positive cases crossing the 500-mark in India, including 10 deaths.
Speaking to PTI, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly did not have much to say on the current scenario, which was made worse by the postponement of Tokyo Olympics to the summer of 2021, on Tuesday. The global COVID-19 death toll is nearing 19,000.
"I can't say anything at the moment. We are at the same place where we were on the day we postponed. Nothing has changed in the last 10 days. So, I don't have an answer to it. Status quo remains," Ganguly's helplessness was palpable.
Kings XI Punjab owner Ness Wadia was more forthright.
"The BCCI should really consider postponing the IPL now. As a premier event, we need to act with great responsibility. Contemplation of IPL is inhuman right now. We need to save lives, not IPL," KXIP co-owner Wadia told PTI.
"Let's say even if the situation improves by May and I hope it does, who is going to come and play? Will the (foreign players) be even allowed to enter the country?" he asked.
Earlier on Tuesday, a conference call between BCCI officials and team owners was postponed.
The star-studded eight-team league was originally scheduled to start on March 29 in Mumbai. It seems the BCCI is deferring the announcement hoping against hope for things to improve.
"If Olympics can be postponed by a year, IPL is a much smaller entity in that regard. It is becoming increasingly difficult to organise. At this point the government is not even thinking about allowing foreign visas," a BCCI official, in know of things, said.
Currently, each stakeholder is discussing ways to limit the financial damage with insurance companies as well as broadcasters.
"With a 21-day lockdown, it is virtually impossible that things will return to normal by April 14. It might improve but a lot of restrictions will be in place. So it will be foolish not to cancel the league," a BCCI veteran said.