Former India cricketer Madan Lal feels any decision on the fate of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League can be taken only once the situation improves completely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 IPL season was slated to start from March 29 but due to the coronavirus outbreak, it remains suspended till April 15.
The entire nation is currently under a 21-day lockdown which ends on April 14. However, with there being an upstage in the number of COVID-19 patients with each passing day, it is likely that the lockdown will be extended, meaning that IPL cannot be held in the near future.
“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 2020 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 2020.
The BCCI is also looking at the October-November window to host the tournament. But the move can only be possible if the ICC decides to postpone the T20 World Cup that is to be held from October 18 to November 15 in Australia.