The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday suspended the 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) till April 15 due to government-imposed travel restrictions amid coronavirus threat.
A curtailed IPL was one of the options discussed at Saturday’s meeting between BCCI and the eight IPL franchise owners in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic even as Kings XI Punjab’s Ness Wadia said that he doesn’t know when the T20 extravaganza will start.
“We cannot and no one, you know, is in a position today to say when it’s going to start. We will review the situation after two to three weeks. And hopefully, by then, the cases will reduce,” Wadia told reporters after IPL team owners’ meeting with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.
Among the other owners present during the meeting was Shah Rukh Khan, who stressed that the public’s feelings must assume top priority. “Whatever you do, the common man should not get a feeling that we are pushing for the IPL. It is their sentiment that needs to be considered, too, before any call is taken,” a franchise executive, who was present on the call, said of the point Shah Rukh had made.
A BCCI source, however, revealed the seven options that were discussed at the meeting.
“There were six to seven options discussed during the meeting between team owners and BCCI including a curtailed IPL,” the source told PTI.
Wadia made it clear that at this moment, the health safety measures are paramount.
In India, there have been two deaths and over 80 positive COVID-19 cases, resulting in a government directive to shut the fans out of sporting events to avoid large gatherings.
“The second option right now is that teams could be divided into two groups of four and then top four go into the play-offs. The third option is increase of double-headers,” the source added.
The fourth option is to play all matches in just a couple of centres with restricted movements of players, support staff and TV crew.
Another option is to play behind closed doors and have all the 60 games in a shorter time frame which will ensure that the stakeholders do not lose out truckloads of money.
The source also confirmed that shifting the tournament abroad was not discussed at all in the meeting.
7 backup options discussed between BCCI and IPL owners:
- Curtail IPL
- Extend the window
- 2 groups of 4 teams each (top 2 from each group to go in playoffs)
- Increase the double-headers
- Games in a couple of centres
- 3 games per day
- Play in empty stadiums