India entered into the fourth phase of its lockdown on May 18, which will go on till May 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, there's a new set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which will relax the restrictions on sporting events, allowing them to resume cricketing action behind closed doors. This means that the IPL 2020, which was postponed indefinitely, could take place this year.
The MHA has permitted the use of stadiums and sports complexes but spectators won't be allowed. The BCCI welcomed the government's decision but said it was untimely to think about the IPL at this point. However, the IPL 2020 can take place subject to travel restrictions being alleviated and a window being found for the tournament, which the BCCI postponed indefinitely in April due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The BCCI released a statement after the India lockdown was extended until May 31. The statement said that that the board will be meticulously studying the new rules issued by the MHA before deciding to resume cricketing action. BCCI Treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal said in a statement that the board has taken note of the guidelines issued by the MHA for the containment of COVID-19 across the country.
He added that taking into the account the restrictions on air travel and movement of people till May 31, the BCCI will wait further before organizing a skill-based training camp for its contracted players. The Sourav Ganguly-led board reiterates that the safety and well-being of its athletes and support staff is paramount and will not rush into any decision that can imperil India’s efforts in containing the spread of the virus.
The statement further read that the BCCI will study guidelines at the state level and will work in sync with state cricket associations to chalk out a programme for skill-based training at a local level. The BCCI officials will continue their interactions with the team management and draw up a suitable plan for the entire team once the situation further improves.
The Indian team is slated to tour Sri Lanka in July, which includes three ODIs and as many T20Is. Speaking on the series, Dhumal confirmed that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had written to the BCCI, expressing its keenness to host that series. He added that, however, without the approval from the Indian government to travel, it is far too early to predict whether that series will go ahead as scheduled or not.