The 2020 Indian Premier League is set to be officially postponed indefinitely after the Indian government announced an extension of the current lockdown until May 3.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held a conference call on Tuesday evening in light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to extend the lockdown.
The fate of this year’s IPL was a key topic for the BCCI which, according to ESPN Cricinfo, will formally announce their decision later this week following an IPL Governing Council meeting.
This year’s IPL was due to commence on March 29 and run through until May 29, but the coronavirus outbreak has forced delays.
India is in lockdown, having recorded almost 11,500 cases and 393 deaths from COVID-19. The three-week lockdown was announced on March 21 and has helped halt the spread, thus its extension.
In light of the initial lockdown, the BCCI had previously postponed the IPL until April 15, which cannot proceed due to the ongoing lockdown, forcing the latest move.
The BCCI has speculated numerous possibilities around the format of an IPL tournament, should they find an appropriate window to hold the event, including as a four-week competition behind closed doors.
The dates have also been a constant topic of discussion, including the potential to move into the October-November slot of the cricket calendar, which may be vacated if the T20 World Cup cannot proceed.
The BCCI are desperate to play an IPL this year - even if behind closed doors - due to their lucrative broadcast deal, worth more than US$2billion over five years, but may struggle to get international players into the country due to government restrictions or available if the cricket schedule doesn’t permit.
Several international series have already been postponed by the coronavirus outbreak, forcing a cricket schedule squeeze, although given the IPL’s lucrative nature, it would take priority in finding a new time slot.