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Australia Test bowler Pat Cummins is hopeful the Indian Premier League season will go ahead, even if it means playing without fans due to the pandemic.
The world’s No.1 Test bowler was signed by Kolkata Knight Riders for $3.17 million in last December’s draft – the highest fee ever commanded by an overseas player.
However, with the world in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, the IPL season, which was due to start on March 29, was delayed until April 14.
That date will almost certainly will be moved again with Indian cricket’s ruling body, the BCCI, due to have discussions this weekend about potentially playing without crowds.
“I am super hopeful it will go on,” Cummins told the BBC’s Stumped podcast.
“Every time I speak to team management they are really confident and hopeful it’s going to happen at some stage.
“But there are so many unknowns. I would be surprised if something happens soon but whatever it takes to get cricket back up…and we can hopefully play in these big events safely.
“Obviously the first priority is people’s safety and all regulations being met. But secondly you want to get back to normality as close as possible. If it means no crowds for a little while than so be it.”
Cummins, who played in the recent ODI against New Zealand where fans were locked off the SCG, said while the situation was not ideal, any chance of getting back to normality was preferential to no cricket.
“The ODI at the SCG was a novelty and super weird,” he said.
“It didn’t feel like an international match it was more like a Sheffield Shield match.
“When friends and family ask me about what it is about playing in India that makes it so special I always say it’s the crowd.
“They scream literally for every ball whether it’s a dot ball, a six, a wicket. It’s the same noise and that atmosphere is what we love.
“It will be missed in the short term if it can’t happen, but I’ve no doubt it will be great event, even if it has to be played without any crowds.”
Cummins is currently in lockdown at his property south of Sydney but said there has been daily dialogue between the Australian players and coach Justin Langer.
He admits it’s been difficult for everyone in the squad keeping in shape at home.
“It’s weird because you spend every day with these boys and we are only contacting each other via Whatsapp,” Cummins said.
“Davey Warner’s been very vocal about his gym sessions, his house looks like something from a Rocky movie. Justin Langer has been sending us workout videos.
“Everyone has been enjoying time separately but staying in touch. It’ll be good to be back touring and annoying each other personally instead of on the phone.”