Coronavirus Won’t Stop IPL 2020: Sourav Ganguly
Sporting organizations and leagues globally are cancelling or rescheduling tournaments over concerns of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Asian continent has witnessed a number of cancellations; South Korea has delayed the start of its football season and Japan put a stop to its football season. There is even talk that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo might also be rescheduled.
BCCI Will Not Stop IPL 2020 Despite Coronavirus Concerns
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the richest T20 league in the world. Players from all over the world fly down to India to participate; and IPL franchises travel all across India during this time. These games are usually packed to capacity as Indian cricket fans are very passionate.
A tournament of this magnitude taking place over a 45 day period is a cause for concern; especially given the fact that COVID-19 is contagious. However, the BCCI has decided that it will not make any changes to the 2020 IPL schedule. The tournament will proceed as planned from March 29.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly stated they will be taking all the necessary precautions to ensure that players are protected. The BCCI has instructed all players to avoid shaking hands with each other, and to avoid physical contact, as much as possible.
The BCCI has also asked players to not high five each other but instead use fist pumps like the NBA. The players have also been instructed to not interact with fans; taking pictures and signing autographs could expose them to unnecessary risk. The Health Ministry is expected to send out an official set of instructions.
Is It Safe For Players To Participate In The IPL?
It remains to be seen if BCCI manage to get all signed foreign players to come and participate in the IPL.
The big question for the BCCI and IPL governing body is what safety measures are being adopted. The IPL attracts players from a number of countries. While there is a huge financial incentive for players to participate, they must also consider the risk involved.
India Reports Over 30 Cases Of COVID-19
As of March 06, the Health Ministry in India has confirmed that there are 30 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Reports show that 15 of these are Italian tourists who are affected with the coronavirus. Given the fact that there are now over 95,000 individuals across the world who are infected by the virus, the number of cases in India is relatively low. The government claims 16 of these cases are from Jaipur where the Rajasthan Royals IPL franchise plays.
India has claimed that airport authorities are now screening all passengers as a precautionary measure irrespective of which country they are flying in from. Previously, India was only screening individuals arriving from South East Asian countries. However, an Indian user took to social media on March 06 to confirm that she was not screened at the airport even though the Union Minister claimed all passengers were being screened!
If the number of COVID-19 cases increase in India during the next couple of weeks, it might force the BCCI to change its IPL 2020 schedule!