Due to the evolving global health concerns regarding global virus pandemic and lockdown measures implemented by the Government of India to contain its spread, the Indian T20 League Governing Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided that the 2020 Season will be suspended till further notice.
With the Indian government extending the nationwide lockdown to May 3, the Indian T20 League’s chief operating officer Hemang Amin had earlier informed the league’s franchises that it would no longer be possible to conduct the event during the summer window.
This marks the second deferment of the Indian T20 League after the tournament was originally scheduled to be held between March 29-May 24 before the initial lockdown of three weeks forced the BCCI to push back the start to April 15.
As part of an earlier contingency plan that envisioned a rescheduled month-long Indian T20 League season ending in the first week of June, the BCCI were also considering hosting the matches behind closed doors.
However, an ever-sharpening spike in global virus cases throughout the country that saw close to 13,000 infected as of Thursday has put paid to those plans. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, a top BCCI official said, “For all practical purposes no sport can be held for now. All the talk about playing Indian T20 League behind closed doors, it is also not a possibility.”
“The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remain our top priority and as such, the BCCI along with the Franchise Owners, Broadcaster, Sponsors and all the Stakeholders acknowledge that the Indian T20 League 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so,” the governing body said in a press release.
The BCCI said it will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding a potential start date in close partnership with all of its stakeholders and will continue to take guidance from the Government of India, state governments and other state regulatory bodies.
While circumstances such as general elections have, in the past, forced the tournament to be held in South Africa and the middle-east, should the global nature of this pandemic force the series to get cancelled altogether, it will mark a first since the Indian T20 League’s inception in 2008.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe