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Indian T20 League postponed as government extends lockdown until May 3

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The 13th edition of the Indian T20 League has been postponed indefinitely after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday that the nationwide lockdown due to the global virus pandemic has been extended until May 3. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) is in no rush to reach a conclusion, and it is believed that a firm decision will only be taken after reviewing the situation on May 3, when the government will provide further directive regarding the global virus crisis. The teams were informed of the decision by Hemang Amin, Indian T20 League's chief operating officer.

The Indian T20 League was initially scheduled to start on March 29 before it was pushed back to April 15 due to the pandemic. 

And now that the lockdown has been extended, the April-May window is certainly out of question. Speaking about the postponement, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly admitted that there's absolutely nothing that can be done at this moment.

“Practically speaking, when life has come to a standstill everywhere in the world, where does sport have a future in this?"

“We keep monitoring developments. At the present moment, we can’t say anything. And what is there to say anyway? 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."

In an empirical scenario, even if the conditions do get better, Indian T20 League won't get a window before December, given that the October-November time already has the T20 World Cup lined up in Australia. Initial reports were that if the ICC tournament gets postponed, BCCI would look for that window to stage the domestic T20 extravaganza. However, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal rubbished the speculations.

"Everyone wants Indian T20 League to happen but let's have some clarity first," Dhumal told the Press Trust of India.

"Tell me one thing. Firstly, if Australia is under lockdown for six months, how can we conclude that they will allow their players to travel from next month right away? What if the travel restrictions for its citizens are still in place. How will they come to India then? And don't forget that other boards also need to agree."

"Even if we are in a position to conduct a tournament, for international players, we need to give them a bare minimum time to do full-fledged training before we can start a tournament. All these factors can only be clear when we are in a position to discuss."

It is said that the BCCI was initially optimistic about hosting the tournament for a tenure of a month, with the final being planned in the first week of June. However, with India reporting over 11,000 positive cases, there is absolutely no certainty over its future. Furthermore, a postponement or even a cancellation would mean the stakeholders will have to bear a massive loss given that as many as 62 players worth Rs 140.30 crore were bought during the auction in December 2019.

As for the players, they will not receive any money as long as the tournament doesn't take place. 

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam

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