Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Coronavirus: 2020 IPL on the cards, says BCCI chief

The Mumbai Indians celebrate after winning the 2019 IPL.

The Mumbai Indians celebrate after winning the 2019 IPL.

There is growing optimism the Indian Premier League (IPL) could still be staged in 2020.

The competition, originally scheduled to begin in March, was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic and it had been feared there would be no opportunity for it to take place this year.

However, Rahul Johri, CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), underlined the governing body's desire for the IPL to go ahead.

The action would not be able to begin until after India's monsoon season, which runs until the end of September, which would put it in a scheduling conflict with the Twenty20 World Cup, due to start in October.

But Johri appeared confident over the prospect of the IPL going ahead, suggesting it would provide a boost for fans and the economy.

"IPL is one of the greatest engagers. More people watched the IPL last year than those who voted for general elections," he said at the TCM Sports Huddle Webinar.

"For sponsors, cricket is a leader and it will lead the way. The recovery will be sharper than a V-shaped recovery.

"We will be guided by government guidelines. Our advisory says: IPL is suspended till further notice.

"We are engaging with various agencies. After the current phase of lockdown ends, there is the monsoon. Cricketing activities can start only after the monsoon. By then, hopefully things will improve."

Johri was insistent that players from all over the world would have to be involved for it to constitute a proper IPL campaign, all but ruling out a league consisting entirely of homegrown talent.

"The flavour of IPL is that best players of the world come and play, and everyone is committed to maintaining that flow," he said.

"But it will be a step-by-step process. We can't expect normalisation tomorrow."

India is currently under government lockdown until May 31.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: