The Indian Premier League 2020 could now be cancelled or postponed in the wake of the 21-day lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
When the year 2020 began, sporting fans had plenty of reasons to cheer. The Indian Premier League, Euro 2020 Football and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were some of the marquee events which were on the cards. However, the coronavirus pandemic has completely devastated the sporting calendar. The Euro 2020 football tournament has been postponed to 2021 while the Tokyo Olympics was postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket has also not escaped the wrath of the coronavirus, with all international series postponed. There is a massive cloud hanging over IPL 2020 which was postponed to April 15 but the developments in the last couple of days with regard to the coronavirus is not a good sign.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown across India in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown, which began on midnight March 24 will last till April 14 and that all but seals the fate of IPL 2020. When the BCCI had postponed the IPL to April 15 earlier this month, it had said hosting the tournament would only come into the picture if the situation around the pandemic improves. However, it has only worsened since then with cases surging towards the 500-mark in India.
Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia has said a postponment was on the cards looking at the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic. "The BCCI should really consider postponing the IPL now. As a premier event, we need to act with great responsibility. Contemplation of IPL is inhuman right now. We need to save lives, not IPL. Lets say even if the situation improves by May and I hope it does, who is going to come and play? Will the (foreign players) be even allowed to enter the country?" Wadia said.
Sourav Ganguly, the head of the BCCI, has admitted to the helplessness of the situation and said nothing has changed as they hope against hope in trying to host IPL 2020 in entirety. Speaking to PTI, Ganguly said, "I can't say anything at the moment. We are at the same place where we were on the day we postponed. Nothing has changed in the last 10 days. So, I don't have an answer to it. Status quo remains."
The 2020 IPL was postponed to April 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic but it may face a further delay. (Image credit: Getty Images)
However, some sources and individuals who are well aware of the development have indicated that the logistical nightmares that will come up even after the lockdown is lifted on April 14 might result in the tournament not being held. They pointed out that foreign players, and even the cricketers themselves might not want to come in the wake of the coronavirus.
"If Olympics can be postponed by a year, IPL is a much smaller entity in that regard. It is becoming increasingly difficult to organise. At this point the government is not even thinking about allowing foreign visas. With 21 day lockdown, it is virtually impossible that things will return to normalcy by April 14. It might improve but a lot of restrictions will be in place. So it will be foolish not to cancel the league," BCCI sources said.
'Stay home, stay home, stay home,' said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his second national broadcast in last seven days. The coronavirus lockdown will be in force for the next 21 days. "It will be like janta curfew, but a little tougher than that," PM Modi said. He also stressed on the point that in case India doesn't observe this 21-day lockdown, the nation will go back for 21 years. "You have to remember that a coronavirus-infected person initially appears to be normal and doesn't show symptoms. So maintain precautions and stay at home," PM Modi said while showing a poster with a message about social distancing on live TV. "No matter what happens, we must stay at home. From Prime Minister to someone living in the village, entire country must adhere to corona lockdown," PM Modi said. "Practice patience and discipline - jaan hai to jahaan hai," PM Modi said.