Only a few weeks ago, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had claimed that the India vs South Africa ODIs and IPL 2020 would go according to schedule and Indian cricket's apex body will be monitoring the global Coronavirus outbreak closely. Fast forward to Thursday, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and curbing its spread is the need of the hour. The India vs. South Africa ODIs will now be played within closed doors while the remaining part of the Road Safety World Series has been cancelled.
Although miniscule by global standards, India's cases have risen to 75 and keep growing by the day. In these times of distress, what will happen to the Indian Premier League 2020?
With multiple rumours and speculation floating on the Internet, it seems fairly plausible that IPL 2020 can be cancelled but the dreaded move is not as simple as it looks. The advertising campaigns for the IPL have already begun with some teams even beginning with their training camps. Along with these very evident investments, an Indian news portal has reported estimated losses of ₹10,000 crores for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) if the IPL gets called off. These losses will include factors like sponsorships, media rights, franchise revenues and hospitality fees.
A much smarter move for the BCCI at this point will be to carry on with the IPL but without in-stadia spectators. According to a few reports that have surfaced, the BCCI may consider playing the IPL behind closed doors for the first fifteen days of the tournament. This move will also make sense from a logistical sense as postponing the IPL will disturb the entire cricketing calendar leading upto the Men's T20 World Cup 2020. However, continuing with the IPL will still have players at risk and stringent examination will have to be conducted to ensure the well-being of all players.
All these queries will be finally laid to rest on Saturday when the BCCI will reportedly meet to take a call on the future of IPL 2020 at the Governing Council meeting in Mumbai. The IPL 2020 schedule originally included Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings in the first match in Mumbai on March 29.