IPL decision only after clarity from govt: BCCI treasurer

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MUMBAI: The BCCI remained foggy Monday on the fate of Indian Premier League’s 13th edition even as the country braced for a lockdown extension in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Right now, the picture is very hazy. We don't even know when the lockdown will end and if we don't know, how can we even have a meaningful discussion. Once we get a clarity from the government, we can then sit and take fresh stock of the situation. Any speculation about it's future will be premature," BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told PTI during an exclusive interaction.

"Everyone wants IPL to happen but let's have some clarity first."

The BCCI treasurer clarified that there was no scheduled conference call between the office bearers on Monday (so much for reports that appeared Saturday that BCCI president Saurav Gangulay would make an official statement after Monday's scheduled conference call).

"We office-bearers are in constant touch. It's not just IPL but there is huge amount of pending administrative work, legal issues that need to be studied. But there was no conference call scheduled today (monmday) as there is nothing to discuss till the current situation persists," Dhumal said.

He also provided some practical insight into rescheduling of IPL as speculations are rife about the October-November window.

"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," Dhumal said.

"Secondly, even if the lockdown ends in India, what if some of the major cities still have those COVID "hotspots"? Can we risk the lives of our sportspersons? Thirdly, the players are likely to go without training for months.

"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," Dhumal told the newswire.

Dhumal's interaction with PTI is a refreshing on-record articulation of the BCCI's thinking on the matter after a raft of off-record "streams of consciousness" ramblings that have have been coming out across various media recently from sundry unnamed senior BCCI officials 

Be that as it may, the fact remains that the BCCI has ONLY three options before it. 

1. Cancel the tournament and plan for a 2021 IPL.

2. Organise a "condensed" edition in September and early October ahead of the World T20 in Australia. 

3. Host the IPL in place of the Men's T20 World Cup 2020 (scheduled for Oct 18 - Nov 15) IF (and that's a mighty BIG IF) the ICC, Cricket Australia and other stakeholders agree.

Options 2 and 3 will necessarily have to be held behind closed doors with only Indian players and is therefore a complete waste of time is SportzPower's considered opinion.