IPL cancellation on the cards after three-week lockdown and Olympic postponement

NEW DELHI: The BCCI will be under tremendous pressure as cancellation of Indian Premier League looks inevitable after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a 21-day lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the BCCI had postponed the IPL to April 15 earlier this month, it had said hosting the tournament would only come into the picture if the situation around the pandemic improves. However, it has only worsened since then with cases surging towards the 500-mark in India.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly did not have much to say considering the grim scenario.
“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,” KXIP co-owner Wadia told PTI.
“Lets 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, the con call of BCCI officials and team owners was postponed as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country and around the world.
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 21 day lockdown, it is virtually impossible that things will return to normalcy 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. —PTI

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