India entered into the fourth phase of its lockdown on May 18, which will go on till May 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A new set of guidelines was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which relaxed the restrictions on sporting events, allowing them to resume cricketing action behind closed doors. However, the same is not the case with top cricketers like Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who will have to wait longer to resume individual training in Mumbai due to its status of being a coronavirus red zone, which rules out the opening of sports facilities in the city for the time being.
Mumbai and all its neighbouring areas like Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mira Road, Bhayandar, Vasai, Virar, Kalyan and Dombivili have been declared red zones due to the ever-increasing number in cases of coronavirus patients. On Wednesday, an MCA official said that they will strictly adhere to the norms of the state government with regards to the opening of stadiums and sports facilities.
MCA has three grounds under its jurisdiction, i.e. Wankhede Stadium, the MCA Cricket Recreation Centre at Bandra-Kurla Complex and the Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana in suburban Kandivali. However, according to government instructions, these facilities will remain closed. This means that the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane amongst top Indian cricketers who reside in Mumbai, will have to manage training at home and could have less time for match practice whenever cricket resumes.
Mumbai has been among the worst hit by the coronavirus crisis. On Tuesday, the city's COVID-19 count rose to 22,563 with an addition of 1,411 new cases. More than 800 people have fallen prey to the deadly virus in Mumbai due to the virus, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
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.
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 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.