With the government of India taking extreme measures to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the chances of the Indian Premier League (IPL) taking place this year looks absolutely slim. The thirteenth edition of the league was set to get underway on March 29 in Mumbai.
But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI suspended the tournament till April 15. At that time, the board had said that further action will depend on how the situation unfolds. But unfortunately, things have not been promising at all. India already have more than 500 positive cases of coronavirus while nearly a dozen people have already succumbed to the deadly disease.
On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi announced that the entire country will be in a 21-day lockdown period to combat the spread of the deadly virus and now a franchise official has reportedly admitted that hosting the T20 league this year is going to be very difficult.
Even in a case where the restrictions are lifted on April 14 – the chances of which are fairly slim – the grounds will take 12 to 14 to get ready for the matches to take place.
“We are not even discussing IPL right now. It will be premature to say anything but hosting the IPL this year looks a bit difficult,” a top franchise official told Hindustan Times.
A Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) official, speaking to the newspaper, confirmed that plenty of IPL-related work is yet to be done as it was stopped mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“All IPL related work was stopped in mid-March. Only the construction of VIP boxes was underway when this coronavirus pandemic forced us to go on a work-from-home. We were already told not to hold IPL-related work till April 15,” the official said.
The government has restricted movement in the country. Domestic travel across the country is currently suspended. The latest directives have certainly made it impossible for the state bodies to prepare their stadiums for the IPL, even keeping the April 15 start in mind. The Delhi government had even imposed a ban on hosting any sports event in the city keeping the coronavirus prevention measures in mind.
“The IMGR (Delhi Capitals) guys came here last week and they were told about the developments. Even they looked less hopeful of the IPL taking place this year. Generally, it takes about two weeks for the pitch and construction work to complete before every IPL that means till the end of April it is highly unlikely,” the official added.