IPL awaits Indian government verdict on lockdown extension
The fate of this year's Indian Premier League rests in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country's cricket board said Monday.
The world's richest Twenty20 tournament has been postponed until Wednesday, which coincides with the end of India's 21-day nationwide shutdown to halt the spread of the pandemic.
Modi will address the nation Tuesday and is expected to extend the curfew for another two weeks following a recent surge to nearly 10,000 cases with more than 320 deaths. "Right now, the picture is very hazy. We don't even know when the lockdown will end and if we don't know, how can we even have a meaningful discussion," Board of Control for Cricket in India treasurer Arun Dhumal was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India news agency.
"Once we get a clarity from the government, we can then sit and take fresh stock of the situation. Any speculation about its future will be premature."
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly also gave a downbeat assessment at the weekend, without giving a definitive prediction for the IPL. "Practically speaking, when life has come to a standstill everywhere in the world, where does sport have a future in this," he said.
The league is a huge revenue earner for the BCCI and is estimated to generate more than $11 billion a year for the Indian economy. Former cricketers including England's Kevin Pietersen have suggested the eight-team tournament be shortened from its normal eight-week duration and played behind closed doors.