Cricket Australia’s international schedule for the 2020-21 home summer has been confirmed, with just 72 days until the first ODI.
The havoc created by the virus seems to have an unimaginable impact on cricket.
With the cancellation of numerous ongoing cricket tournaments, speculations arise on the future of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, which is scheduled to take place on the 15th of April. The tournament which was initially scheduled for the 29th of March had to be deferred due to the outbreak.
With the Indian government announcing a 21-day national lockdown that ends on the April 14, the BCCI will have no choice but to further delay the tournament. The future of the cash-rich league remains uncertain, though it is still too early for predictions.
While it is true that the BCCI will want to do everything in its power to make the tournament happen, it looks daunting with time running out of hand.
As the BCCI is bound to miss the April deadline, a hope for a full version of the tournament looks to be diminishing. However, there are a few contingency plans that the BCCI is eager to implement.
The first one being the trimmed version of the original IPL. Even at the best-case scenario, the BCCI is looking for somewhere around early May in starting the tournament, which therefore makes it impossible for a full-fledged version. In a trimmed version each team encounters every other exactly once as opposed to twice, in the league stages making it 28 in total.
The BCCI would be really lucky if it could sneak in a shortened version of the IPL in the midst of the pandemic.
In a press release, the BCCI also expressed their desire to conduct the tournament in the July-August bracket. The BCCI is looking for a window in the July and August period as a backup if things go south in May.
However, the biggest concern during that period would be the unavailability of key foreign players including the likes of Daivd Warner and Steve Smith, who are the captains of their respective franchises.
The third and final alternative would be to abandon the tournament.
With the pandemic accelerating, the cancellation of the tournament looks inevitable. The cancellation of the IPL will have severe economic impacts.
It would also close doors for veterans like Suresh Raina, who are itching to make a comeback into the national squad before the T20 World Cup. It will also make it difficult for MS Dhoni, who is banking on the IPL to make it into the T20 World Cup Squad.
As the future of the tournament remains uncertain, we will just have to wait and watch as only time can give us the exact outcome.