India has extended its nationwide lockdown till May 2; the government continues to take measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. At the time of this writing, there are over 10,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19. As many as 405 have lost their lives to the virus.
BCCI Shelves 2020 IPL
The BCCI was reviewing the COVID-19 situation every week as their top priority was to get the 2020 IPL underway. The IPL is the richest T20 domestic cricket tournament in the world and brings in millions of dollars to the BCCI every year.
The BCCI had earlier stated that it would take a decision on April 15 about any rescheduling. However, that decision was taken out of the BCCI’s hands once the Modi Government confirmed the lockdown extension. The BCCI brass has now confirmed that the 2020 IPL will be put on the shelf till further notice.
The BCCI also went after irresponsible media reports which claimed that the IPL has been postponed indefinitely. A representative for the BCCI claimed that the IPL takes place every season; hence it could be postponed indefinitely. Since COVID-19 has put the country in lockdown mode, the IPL will be paused for now; meanwhile the BCCI continues to look for a suitable timetable to host the IPL.
Asia Cup Could Be Cancelled
The BCCI had earlier stated that it could wait till the end of May to run the IPL. That deadline, however, also looks highly unlikely now. This has forced the BCCI to abandon Plan A and look at Plan B as an alternate strategy. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Plan B could involve cancelling the Asia Cup—which is scheduled to take place in September 2020—and playing the IPL during this time frame.
The Asia Cup is a 6 nation T20 tournament that will be hosted by Pakistan in the UAE. The six nations that will play the Asia Cup include hosts Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and a qualifier which is yet to be determined. India are the current Asia Cup champions and will have to defend their trophy in September.
There are many who are in favour of the Asia Cup being scrapped in favour for the IPL; it would serve as a great platform to prepare for the T20 World Cup which takes place in Australia in October. With international cricket now being suspended for over two months and quite likely a few more months, cricketers from all over the world are lacking match practice.
The IPL is usually a 6 weeks tournament. It would give players sufficient time to shake off the rust and get sufficient time in the middle playing the IPL. The Asia Cup will only have Asian cricketers participating but the IPL will allow cricketers from multiple nations. Most cricketers will also be in favour for the IPL over the Asia Cup because the IPL brings them a massive payday.
The BCCI has not confirmed its Plan B and has refused to address the rumours.
Pakistan Will Not Agree To Asia Cup Cancellation
While the BCCI did not address the Asia Cup cancellation rumours, the Pakistan Cricket Board did put out a statement. It said that it will not agree to the cancellation of the Asia Cup. PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said that such a decision cannot be taken by the BCCI as the Asia Cup involves a number of other nations who would also need to agree to a cancellation!