The BCCI was supposed to start the IPL 2020 on March 29 but due to the coronavirus outbreak across the world, the future of the tournament remains highly uncertain. The advertising campaigns for IPL 2020 were already underway with some teams even beginning with their training camps in early March. However, with only two weeks to go for the tournament, the BCCI announced that it was suspending the IPL till April 15. Now that the date is only a day away, is the IPL anywhere close to beginning?
According to John Hopkins University, India currently has 10,453 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections. Most of these cases have been discovered over the last 21 days as India served the nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed in March. While the trajectory of the curve does not seem to flatten, the lockdown getting extended on Tuesday to May 3, makes the tournament virtually a goner.
In an interview to the PTI, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal talked about the future of the tournament and how it could be held if things get better. For now, Dhumal clarified that the BCCI has no conference calls planned with its office-bearers. Dhumal explained that the BCCI is waiting for the government's decision like everyone else and further decisions on the IPL can only be taken after it. "We don't even know when the lockdown will end and if we don't know, how can we even have a meaningful discussion.", Dhumal explained.
Some reports have also suggested that the IPL may be held in the October-November window if the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 ends up getting scrapped. Dhumal explained that things are not as easy as they seem with this proposition. The travel restrictions that Australia and other nations put into place may be of heavy importance when the IPL is being planned for that slot. Along with this, all major cricket boards will also have to agree to the BCCI's proposal of holding the IPL in an unconventional time frame. Dhumal also mentioned that player safety and COVID 'hotspot' management will be a concern. He also pointed out the fact that players have not been training and need to be given a time period to train well enough for the marquee event.
The fate of the IPL remains undecided and an update on the matter can be expected soon. PM Narendra Modi addressed the nation on April 14 and announced that the national lockdown has been extended till May 3. PM Narendra Modi's announcement will now give the BCCI a clear picture of the IPL's feasibility.