India’s cricket board chief Sourav Ganguly speaks to media. File/AFP
The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly admitted that the chances of the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting any time soon are bleak.
Ganguly said that he will be able to give a concrete update on whether the IPL will be further deferred after speaking to BCCI office-bearers. “But practically speaking, when life has come to a standstill everywhere in the world, where does sport have a future in this,” he told the New Indian Express.
“We keep monitoring developments. At the present moment, we can’t say anything. And what is there to say anyway? Airports are shut, people are stuck at home, offices are locked down, nobody can go anywhere. And it seems this is how it’s going to be till the middle of May,” said Ganguly.
“Where will you get players from, where do players travel. It’s just simple common sense that at the moment, nothing is in favour of any kind of sport anywhere in the world, forget IPL.”
With the number of coronavirus infections and deaths continuing to rise, a number of states around the country have extended the lockdown which was initially supposed to end on April 15 — the same date that IPL 2020 was postponed after the BCCI deemed that it would not be possible to start on March 29.
The BCCI suspended the IPL till April 15, originally scheduled from March 29 to April 15 after the government suspended all visas, barring few categories like diplomatic and employment, making it impossible for foreign players to participate.
“I will be able to give an update on that on Monday after speaking to the other office-bearers (of BCCI). But practically speaking, when life has come to a standstill everywhere in the world, where does sport have a future in this,” Ganguly told The New Indian Express.
Ganguly termed the current the coronavirus crisis as ‘terrible’, saying that he has never experienced anything like this in his entire life.
“It’s terrible. In my 46 years of life, I never experienced anything like this. Not just that, the world has never seen anything like this. And I hope nobody sees this situation again. The entire world is thinking how many people may die in the next two weeks! It’s unbelievable,” Ganguly added.
Ganguly explained his daily routine during the lockdown and said he has been doing BCCI and ICC work amid the self-isolation due to coronavirus outbreak.
“Locked down like everyone else, I am at home with family. These are rare moments in the sense that others normally stay at home. I don’t. That has changed. I’m doing some BCCI and ICC work. I rest, watch a bit of TV, do a bit of fitness training at the gym I have at home.”
“The lesson is, it’s one life. So be happy, live everyday and live up to potential. Nobody had seen or expected this. But the unexpected happens at times. You just have live your life in whatever way you can and do what makes you happy. That’s very important.”
Recently, former India cricketer Madan Lal feels any decision on the fate of the 13th edition of the IPL can be taken only once the situation improves completely.
“IPL is a big brand. But the board can only take a decision once the situation improves and coronavirus is gone. At the moment, it’s on upstage. So, no one is going to take a risk,” Lal told IANS.
“Once coronavirus is gone, cricket can obviously take place because it’s such a popular sport and is loved by all. Even the players would like to play in front of crowds and that can only happen once the situation fully improves,” he added.
The 69-year-old also insisted that there was no point of having the IPL matches in front of empty stands without any spectators.
“There’s no point in playing IPL matches in front of empty stands. It’s not just about the players and the fans, it’s about other people who are also involved in the process while travelling, organising, broadcasting, etc,” Lal, who was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, said.
“Once situation improves, other series will also take place and BCCI can totally recover for the lost time.” India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh recently said that a lot of lives are on the line and that’s why he won’t mind playing without spectators if the situation demands. Even Pat Cummins has backed the idea of having a closed-door IPL.