The BCCI was pretty confident of staging the IPL 2020 without any interruptions at the start of the month. However, the growing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on different sporting events all over the world has forced the BCCI to rethink its stance.
IPL Will Not Start On March 28
The Indian government did not force the BCCI to cancel the IPL as it issued a statement claiming that it advised the BCCI to not hold events that required a public gathering but left the final decision to the BCCI brass. The BCCI met over the weekend and after consulting with IPL franchise owners and the host broadcaster Star Sports, the BCCI decided to postpone the 2020 IPL for now.
The richest domestic T20 league in the world was expected to commence from March 28. However, that will not happen now as the BCCI has decided to postpone the start to April 15 as of now. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed that the board will be keeping a close watch on the global situation and make an assessment with each week. Should things improved, the IPL will start from April 15. If the situation does not improve, the BCCI will either have to cancel the 2020 IPL or decide if it has sufficient time to proceed with a mini IPL.
BCCI Looks At Truncated IPL
When the BCCI confirmed the schedule for the 2020 IPL initially, there were very few double headers taking place. A double header is when two matches take place on the same day. Once starts around 4 pm IST and the second starts at 8 pm IST as usual. The BCCI decided to do away with games that start early because of the humid conditions and only scheduled a few games during this season.
The BCCI will now have to reconsider that schedule and look at doing double headers in the event it moves forward with a mini IPL. The third option is to reduce the number of games in the tournament and instead of having each franchise play each other twice, the best option could be to have just one game against each franchise and proceed with the knock-out stage.
As of now it is too early for the BCCI to confirm the proposed schedule for the 2020 IPL. The IPL takes place during a 45 day window when most of the test playing nations have a break in their cricketing calendar. This is why it is very difficult for the BCCI to reschedule a full IPL tournament at a later stage this year as it will clash with the international schedule. The latest that the BCCI can push the IPL final to is June 5!
Franchise Owners Okay To Cancel Tournament
The BCCI met with franchise owners from the Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians to get their views on a truncated IPL. After the meeting was complete, franchise owners expressed their support and confirmed that they were okay if the 2020 IPL was cancelled because they did not want to put the players and fans at risk.
Ness Wadia who is a co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab franchise was among those to play down the initial push by the BCCI to proceed with the IPL. Wadia claimed that the BCCI, Star Sports and IPL franchise owners were not pushing for the IPL to take place because there was a lot of money at stake. He claimed that all stakeholders were not thinking about monetary benefits associated with the IPL at this point of time as the concern of the players and general public took precedence.
The IPL franchise owners have expressed support to whatever the Indian government and the BCCI decides going forward!