Dubai: The IPL 2020 plunged into further uncertainty when the Indian government, on Saturday, extended the countrywide lockdown till April 30 as of now in an attempt to flatten the rising curve of the coronavirus cases in the country.
‘‘As of now, the league stands postponed as the priorities of the nation are now different. We will examine if a window is available later in the year around September-October if there is any change of dates of the World T20,’’ a senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) are hopeful that the T20 World Cup in Australia can go ahead as scheduled from October 18-November 15, even though the Australian government has sealed the country’s borders till September 19.
Speaking on sonditions of anonymity, the board official said that any other option - like a July window by playing matches indoors for the broadcasters - is ‘‘not feasible’’ as there is no guarantee if the state of the pandemic will ease by then.
In a signficant tweet, former England captain Michael Vaughan suggested on Twitter: “I would play a 5 week tournament Sept-Oct including all players as a warm-up for the T20 WC.”
It’s an unprecedented challenge in front of the BCCI, for the IPL had been their biggest cash cow for the past decade while the cricket boards who release their players are also well compensated by the board.
If the IPL is eventually cancelled, broadcasters Star India would lose to the tune of Rs 3269.50 crore, with them having bought the right for Rs 16,347 crore in 2018 for five years. There would be loss of revenue from the title sponsors as well, to the tune of Rs 400 crore from VIVO.
Earlier in the day, Madan Lal, a member of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad and now a member of the newly appointed Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), felt there is no sense in playing matches before empty stands.
“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 said in an interview.
“There’s no point in playing IPL 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,” he added.
The BCCI official said the board was still working out its revenue hit should the event be cancelled but warned of significant “collateral damage” to broadcasters and sponsors should it not be held.