Coronavirus Outbreak: IPL pushed back to Apr 15

Updated: 14 March, 2020 08:05 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

But franchises feel it will take another week after that to get players tuned up for mega event; governing council to meet today.

MI skipper Rohit Sharma after being dismissed for 67 against CSK at MA Chidambaram Stadium last April
MI skipper Rohit Sharma after being dismissed for 67 against CSK at MA Chidambaram Stadium last April

Though the BCCI on Friday decided to "suspend" the Indian Premier League till April 15 as a precautionary measure against Novel Coronavirus, uncertainty still looms large over the conduct of the tournament.

While the franchises have welcomed BCCI's decision to postpone the IPL, which was set to begin on March 29, team officials will meet BCCI office-bearers and the IPL Governing Council today to understand the way forward.

"We will brief the teams about our plans and address their queries. No one really knows till when this situation will remain. So, there are a lot of factors," IPL chairman Brijesh Patel told mid-day on Friday.

While New Delhi has decided not to host the IPL for a month to prevent the spread of Covid-19, several other states are also mulling over following suit.

When asked whether the IPL will see more double headers or a truncated schedule, Patel said: "We are working on every aspect. Everything will be discussed."

MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli

Uppermost on the franchises' mind is the possible date for the IPL to kick off. "The IPL is suspended till April 15 but that does not mean it will begin on that day.

We first want to understand when the tournament will begin. Since the curb on visas is till April 15, it will take at least a week's time for the players to arrive. That is if the situation eases out," said a franchise official.

The next challenge for teams is to get the cricketers into the groove. "We will have to hold a few camps for the players before we begin the tournament. We have to understand that this is not a holiday period for the cricketers. Since no training sessions can be conducted, the players will have to remain indoors as there are restrictions on going out," the franchise official said.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said the safety of people is most important. "Safety of the people is our priority. Everything else will be worked out later. Nobody has any choice [in such a situation]," Ganguly told reporters at the Cricket Centre.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement: "The BCCI will work closely with the Government of India along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and all other relevant Central and State Government departments in this regard."

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First Published: 14 March, 2020 07:48 IST

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