The chances of Indian Premier League (IPL) taking place this year is very bleak but the BCCI has not given up yet. The thirteenth edition of the league was set to get underway on March 29 before the board suspended the league till April 15 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
At that time, the BCCI had said that the next decision would depend on the situation of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the situation has only deteriorated in the last few days. As things stand, there are more than 1,000 positive cases already in the country with more than 30 deaths.
The country is also under a mandatory 21-day lockdown. The way things are unfolding at the moment, it would not be surprising if the lockdown extends by weeks in the coming days. In such a scenario, the possibility of IPL taking place looks very bleak.
However, the BCCI, as part of its contingency plans, has kept open the option of rescheduling the IPL any time between late August and early October (before the T20 World Cup in Australia). This of course hinges on the hope the disease will be contained in the next four months. Depending on how it plays out, a plan will be redrawn.
The IPL organising team will be looking at all the possibilities, from the participation of foreign players to a truncated tournament with only India players. The IPL is a massive revenue generator for the BCCI and is crucial for the board.
“We are closely monitoring the situation, and we will take a call accordingly. We are looking at a window in August-September,” a BCCI official told Hindustan Times.
According to FTP, India are scheduled to play the Asia Cup in September, host England for three ODIs and three T20s. The Men in Blue are also set to play three T20Is against Australia before going into the T20 World Cup. Their three-ODI tour of Zimbabwe is also set to be rescheduled.
As for other teams, England host Pakistan (ends on September 2) and then Ireland (ends September 15). South Africa’s tour of West Indies ends on August 16. Australia aren’t playing any matches during this two-month period. They will play a T20 series against West Indies and India in October, just before the start of T20 World cup.
The BCCI is hopeful that if the pandemic is brought under control in the next four months, it would be able to host the IPL in August-September. The BCCI will also have convince the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to postpone the Asia Cup to a later date. The broadcasters would stand to lose a lot more if the IPL is called off for the Asia Cup.