IPL set to be postponed indefinitely as India extends lockdown

The eight-team league, which was originally scheduled to begin on March 29, was initially deferred until Wednesday before India announced a three-week lockdown last month.

FILE: Mumbai Indians players celebrate a wicket against Chennai Super Kings during their nail-biting Indian Premier League final on 12 May 2019. Picture: @mumbaiindians/Facebook.com.

NEW DEHLI - This year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition is set to be postponed indefinitely amid the COVID-19 pandemic after the country extended a lockdown on its 1.3 billion people until at least 3 May on Tuesday.

The eight-team league, which was originally scheduled to begin on 29 March, was initially deferred until Wednesday before India announced a three-week lockdown last month.

IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel did not take calls or reply to a Reuters message to comment on the possible dates of the tournament.

One of the franchise officials Reuters reached said they were waiting to hear from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met over a conference call on Tuesday.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had earlier acknowledged the difficulty in hosting the tournament amid lockdown and the travel restrictions forced by the global health crisis.

“At the present moment, we can’t say anything,” the former India captain told New India Express newspaper at the weekend.

“Airports are shut, people are stuck at home, offices are locked down, nobody can go anywhere. And it seems this is how it’s going to be till the middle of May.

“Where will you get players from, where do players travel. It’s just simple common sense that at the moment, nothing is in favour of any kind of sport anywhere in the world, forget IPL.”