COVID-19: IPL 2020 Not Possible After April 15, Says Rajeev Shukla 

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HYDERABAD: Citing the prevailing situation in the country amid coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla said that it is impossible to start the IPL 2020 after April 15. However, IPL 2020 auction’s costliest player Pat Cummins has said that if the situation arises, he won’t mind playing before empty stands. Kolkata Knight Riders had bagged Cummins for Rs 15.5 crore in player auctions.

The IPL 2020, which was due to start on March 29, remains suspended till April 15 because of Covid-19. And with there being an increase in number of Covid-19 patients with each passing day, the chances of IPL taking place in the near future are grim.

"I don't see any preparation, our priority is to fight coronavirus and save people. See it will all depend on the government what decision they will take. We will go by the government decision. We are hearing that lockdown may extend in this situation if you think IPL can happen by April 15 so it seems not possible (sic)," Shukla told ANI.

Talking about the participation of foreign players in IPL 2020, Shukla said that in present situation no match is possible and there are restrictions on foreigners travelling to the country as well. The Central government on March 11 suspended all visas to India till April 15 as part of the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Cummins while speaking to BBC Sports was optimistic and said he is “super hopeful” that the tournament will go ahead.

"The first priority is safety but the second one is getting back to normality, finding that balance," he said. "If that unfortunately means no crowds for a while, then that is that, but hopefully people can watch at home on TV.

The 26-year-old, who was named one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year on Wednesday, said playing the IPL behind closed doors would have a "totally different feel about it".

"When people ask about the difference between playing cricket in India, the first thing is the crowd," he said.

"They scream every single ball whether it's a six or a wicket - it's the same noise every ball - so that atmosphere is something that we love about playing in India.

"It will be missed in the short term if it can't happen, but I have no doubt it will be a great event even if it has to be played without crowds," he added.

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh recently said that a lot of lives are on the line and that's why he won't mind playing without spectators if the situation demands.

The BCCI is now looking at the October-November window to host the tournament. But the move can only be possible if the ICC decides to postpone the T20 World Cup that is to be held from October 18 to November 15 in Australia. PTI

Also Read: Wisden Picks Ben Stokes As ‘Cricketer Of 2019’

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