BCCI postpones IPL indefinitely

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has formally informed the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises that the 13th edition of the T20 league has been “indefinitely postponed” due to COVID-19.

A day after the Government of India extended the lockdown across the country till May 3, IPL chief operating officer Hemang Amin called each of the franchise owners and told them that the tournament could not be scheduled in the conventional window (April-May).

“All of us were expecting it anyway, but today it was formalised. Hopefully, the fans can watch their favourite IPL teams in action at some point later this year,” a franchise executive told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Conference call

It was reported in these columns on Monday that the BCCI was set to indefinitely defer IPL-2020 after a conference call between the office-bearers. That con-call was eventually held on Tuesday, hours after the Prime Minister’s decision to continue the lockdown.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, treasurer Arun Dhumal, IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel and Amin decided that there was no way the IPL could be held before the situation eases.

According to the BCCI executives, an official announcement was “expected soon” from the secretary. The statement hadn’t been issued at the time of writing.

This will be the first time since its inception in 2008 that the T20 extravaganza will not be played during India’s summer. All the 12 editions have been played between March and May. This year’s tournament was originally slated to be held from March 29 to May 24.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the BCCI, on March 13, had suspended the IPL till April 15. Once the India went into lockdown and many other countries shut down their airspace, it was clear that even a truncated IPL in May would not be possible.

Though the BCCI hopes that it can squeeze in the IPL later this year — either a shortened or a full tournament in case the T20 World Cup, scheduled for October-November in Australia, gets postponed — it is premature to discuss the feasibility.

“Like all things in the world, the cricket calendar will also be revised when things become normal. All we can do is to wait and keep our fingers crossed,” said another franchise executive.

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