New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The government on Sunday extended the coronavirus lockdown for the fourth consecutive time until May 31. However, significant relaxations have been given to the people and businesses living and functioning under Red, Orange and Green zones.

In the cricketing circles, the hopes are running high for the resumption of annual tournaments, such as the (IPL) Indian Premier League, which was supposed to begin its 13th edition from March 29 onwards.

“Sports complexes and stadiums will be permitted to open; however, spectators will not be allowed,” the Union Home ministry said in its statement on the fresh rules for Lockdown 4.0.

The fresh set of rules will allow sports persons and their coaches to resume the training. The cricketers and people running the professional cricket world are seeing this as window of hope to start working on the prospects of starting the lucrative Cricket league IPL, albeit without any fanfare.

For the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to initiate the rescheduling of IPL, a lot depends upon whether the (ICC) International Cricket Council shifts its T-20 World Cup calendar scheduled to take place in Australia in October, 2020.

If that happens, and COVID situation doesn’t go out of the hands in India (the host), Australia, South Africa and Caribbean nations (the countries whose players have been included by different IPL teams), the chances of IPL to take place will increase manifold, again, in any case, in front of the empty stands.

Earlier, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said that not hosting IPL would cost the Board Rs 4,000 crore. Yet so many other pre-conditions need to be fulfilled if the IPL is to take place.

The BCCI is expected to take up the issue of postponement of T-20 World Cup during the May 28-scheduled Board meeting of the ICC, which, after the recent announcement of opening of Cricket stadiums, has increased the expectations of the IPL franchises of the league to take place this year.

Apart from the COVID situation, the arrival of Monsoon on Indian coast lines is also a concern. That’s the reason, hopes are high that BCCI will rather urge the ICC to push the datelines October-scheduled T-20 World Cup for IPL to take place, despite the clarification from the Union government for sports events to take place without any spectators.

What is the situation right now?

At present, as far as the playing circumstances for immediate next few weeks is concerned, BCCI is not looking to stage any tournament. “We can’t be looking at staging any competition, let alone IPL, when inter-state travel is not permitted. Also international travel is restricted. But with stadiums being opened, we will now work out modalities with our state units as to which places players can train and when,” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal was quoted as saying.

What IPL will be like without spectators?

The fans will have to brace for such empty-stand games till the time being. Recently, Bundesliga, a Germany-based professional Football league with the highest average stadium attendance worldwide, started in Germany with empty stands.

Indian Captain Virat Kohli said recently that the emotions created by the stadium-crowd will be very difficult to get created without them, He said: “I know it will be played at a very good intensity but that feeling of the crowd connecting with the players and the tension of the game where everyone goes through it in the stadium, those emotions are very difficult to recreate.”

Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins, the top buy of last IPL by KKR at $2.18 million - was hopeful IPL, which was originally scheduled for March 29, will happen this year. Cummins told BBC last month that: “If that unfortunately means no crowds for a while, then that is that, but hopefully people can watch at home on TV.”

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta