The COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has already affected the scheduled start of the T20 extravaganza. With the current scenario that prevails, BCCI is looking all set to schedule a truncated or shortened version of IPL 2020 in July.
The COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has forced the BCCI governing council to postpone the scheduled start of Indian Premier League (IPL). The high profile T20 league which was scheduled to start from 29th March 2020 now stands suspended till 15th April 2020. However, with the current scenario, 15th April looks be a close deadline and things don’t seem to be heading towards a solution. The BCCI looking to stage a truncated IPL 2020 in July may be the only possibility of going ahead.
Highlights! The coronavirus pandemic has forced the BCCI to consider a different window for IPL 2020.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the start of IPL 2020 to 15th April.
- With the scenario that exists, the likelihood of a squeezed IPL can’t be denied.
- July-September is a new window that the board is pondering over.
Possibility of a truncated IPL 2020
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the possibility of staging a shorter IPL can’t be denied. The BCCI President Sourav Ganguly also believes the same.
The 2nd edition of IPL in 2009 was held over a period of 39 days. The tournament had to be shifted to South Africa due to the Assembly Elections in India. So, a shorter IPL with the same end date (24th May 2020) is always a possibility. This is something that should keep the fans intrigued.
Hence, if everything falls in place and IPL 2020 starts on 15th April, the BCCI governing council will still have 40 days to conduct the tournament – a day more than that in 2009. More number of doubleheaders and match timings are some aspects that will need to be looked at. So, if the current situation gets better around mid-April then IPL 2020 may resonate with IPL 2009.
What if coronavirus eats entire April?
The rate at which the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus is spreading is really alarming. Keeping this is mind, there is a certain possibility of the virus continuing its threat during April. Hence, the IPL 2020 calendar will need to be revamped if entire April gets affected by the virus.
A Truncated IPL 2020 in July-September
According to one of the sources, the Indian board might as well attempt to stage a truncated IPL that ends as late as September. If this actually happens, then lots of changes and chopping will need to be done. If the council plans to end the tournament around mid-September, then in order to stage a truncated IPL (say around 40 days) the league will have to commence by July-end or early August.
The Australian government has issued an indefinite ‘do not travel overseas’ advisory to all its citizens. This could very well impose a restriction on Australian players who form a vital form of the IPL. However, Australian batsman David Warner‘s agent has revealed that the southpaw is eager to be a part of the IPL as and when the T20 league commences.
With deals amounting to $17.5 million, the Australian players would not want to miss any chance of being a part of the IPL. With the Indian government imposing visa restrictions till mid-April, the July-September window looks to be the only option at the moment.
Consequences of staging IPL 2020 in July
However, starting IPL 2020 in July and ending it in September will carry consequences of its own.
With the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled to start from 18th October 2020, such a schedule will create a hectic load on Indian players. The players will hardly get any time to gel together. Fitness and fatigue issues will for sure affect the team’s performance at the bigger stage. Conceding a T20 World Cup due to its own negligence is not something that the BCCI would want.
Team India is scheduled to play an ODI and T20I series in Sri Lanka in August. This is followed by an ODI series against England in September. Almost everything will need to be re-planned. BCCI will face an unnecessary logistics burden.
However, being the richest cricket board in the world, the BCCI certainly has power and resources to stage a tournament when everything looks finished. The 2009 IPL is a prime example of this. And it shouldn’t come as surprise if IPL 2020 starts in July this year, albeit a truncated one.