In last two weeks, India has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Number of COVID -19 cases has touched 14,000 mark with the death toll reaching around 500. Indian government has also extended the 21-day lockdown for 19 days more days.
With the extension of lockdown, BCCI has postponed all the further meetings till the end of lockdown. The marquee tournament which was all set to get rolling from 29th March has been now postponed indefinitely amid the COVID-19 attack.
Earlier, the reports also claimed that BCCI has been looking for alternative window in the month of July or September. Apart from this time window, BCCI also has an option of organising the IPL abroad like they did in 2009. But till now BCCI has not come up with anything concrete information on the future of marquee tournament.
Royal Challengers Coach, Simon Katich, in a recent interview, has also voiced his support to the option of organising the IPL on foreign soil if need arises. “Whether it would be in Australia (or elsewhere), that’s an interesting topic of conversation. There would be a few teams – us in particular at RCB, we’d be very happy for it to be played abroad, because a number of our overseas players are Australian and South African, who really would enjoy these conditions in Australia,” Katich told SEN Radio.
“It would be interesting to see if that would eventuate but obviously it’s one of many scenarios that’s being discussed,” Simon Katich added.
“It’s obviously the biggest T20 tournament in the world and the people there love their cricket. But I think they’re also realistic to know that they have to sit tight and wait like everyone else in the world, and ride this out however long that takes,” Katich said.
As with each passing day the chances of IPL 2020 going down, the BCCI is bound to incur huge monetary losses for all its stakeholders. Though, BCCI certainly have insurance for the mega tournament. Yet it is still unknown whether Government imposed lockdown in covered in insurance terms of not.
“There is a huge economic side to this in terms of what the IPL generates, not only for the Indian economy but also for the franchises as well, and for the BCCI. I guess the thing that has to be weighed up is there’s probably a little bit of a difference in terms of the IPL,” he added.
“Because of the amount of eyeballs that are on the IPL in India when it’s on in April and May, it is a scenario where it is potentially still very commercially viable being played with empty stadiums, so that’s something no doubt they’ll be weighing up,” Katich said.
“In the past there’s been talk of ratings figures of 80 million people watching games. At the same time, there’s obviously a lot of health regulations that need to be followed to make sure that no-one’s endangered, whether that’s the public or the players and support staff,” he added.