IPL cricket made to wait as In­dia ex­tends lock­down

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

NEW DELHI: In­dia’s cricket board re­mains op­ti­mistic about play­ing the lu­cra­tive IPL later this year, a team of­fi­cial told AFP yes­ter­day, as an ex­tended na­tional lock­down left the com­pe­ti­tion in limbo.

In line with other sports events world­wide, the 13th edi­tion of the In­dian Premier League, the world’s rich­est Twenty20 tour­na­ment, had al­ready been pushed back from its orig­i­nal start date of March 29.

Of­fi­cially it was post­poned un­til yes­ter­day but with In­dia and much of the world in lock­down, pre­vent­ing play­ers from trav­el­ling and fans at­tend­ing matches, the tour­na­ment re­mains on hold.

After In­dia ex­tended the lock­down on Tues­day, the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia (BCCI) told the eight fran­chises that the tour­na­ment has been de­ferred in­def­i­nitely.

“Yes, they have in­formed us that the IPL stands sus­pended for the mo­ment,” a team of­fi­cial told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity. “How­ever it is said that they will find a win­dow in the later end of the year to do it.”

There was no an­nounce­ment on the IPL’s fu­ture from the In­dian board. At the week­end, BCCI pres­i­dent Sourav Gan­guly had shied away from giv­ing a pre­dic­tion.

“Prac­ti­cally speak­ing, when life has come to a stand­still ev­ery­where in the world, where does sport have a fu­ture in this?” he said. The league is a huge rev­enue earner for the BCCI and is es­ti­mated to gen­er­ate more than $11 bil­lion a year for the In­dian econ­omy.

For­eign stars have been push­ing for an IPL start with Aus­tralia’s Steve Smith say­ing he hopes the league will be held “at some stage”.

For­mer crick­eters in­clud­ing Eng­land’s Kevin Pi­etersen have sug­gested the glitzy tour­na­ment be short­ened from its nor­mal eight-week du­ra­tion and played be­hind closed doors. — AFP

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