MUMBAI, India – India’s government on Saturday extended its nation-wide lockdown of the country to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, dealing a further blow to the already endangered Indian Premier League (IPL).
The initial lockdown began March 25 and was to end on Wednesday but Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now set to keep in place the lockdown measures for up to another two weeks, following a meeting with chief ministers, media reports have said.
This means the lucrative IPL, originally carded to start March 29 and delayed until April 15, remains in limbo especially with no end to the pandemic insight.
Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) president, Sourav Ganguly, painted a bleak picture in the outlook for the tournament being staged any time soon.
“We keep monitoring developments. At the present moment, we can’t say anything. And what is there to say anyway?” the former Test captain said.
“Airports are shut, people are stuck at home, offices are locked down, nobody can go anywhere. And it seems this is how it’s going to be till the middle of May. Where will you get players from, where do players travel.
“It’s just simple common sense that at the moment, nothing is in favour of any kind of sport anywhere in the world, forget IPL.”
Ganguly said BCCI would discuss the future of the tournament on Monday before making any public comments.
“I will be able to give an update on that on Monday after speaking to the other office-bearers (of BCCI),” he said.
“But practically speaking, when life has come to a standstill everywhere in the world, where does sport have a future in this.”
The IPL is the world’s largest Twenty20 tournament and features the finest short-format players from nearly every nation.
Several West Indies players have become fixtures in the league’s franchises with the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer all contracted to turn out in the tournament originally scheduled to run until May 24.
Last season, Pollard played an instrumental role in the final as Mumbai Indians beat Bravo’s Chennai Super Kings by a single run off the last ball.
India has recorded close to 8 500 infections and 288 deaths since the global outbreak began.