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Last Chance of IPL Taking Place is If We Start by May First Week: BCCI Official

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As the fate of the IPL 2020 continues to hang in the balance, a latest report suggests that the tournament could still take place provided the first match is played by the first week of May. The 13th edition of the IPL, which was due to start on March 29 was postponed to April 15 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and although an official word is awaited, BCCI authorities are still confident provided there is room by the beginning of May.

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“The latest we can wait is till the end of April. If the first game isn’t played by the first week of May then it will be almost impossible to have the league this year. Even if we have to wait till end of April to follow all the procedures, we can take a cue from the South Africa edition and conduct the league successfully. If you remember, that was the shortest IPL with 59 games played over 37 days and we can do the same. But certain measures will have to be taken,” an official told IANS.

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On Tuesday, BCCI officials and team owners are supposed to sit over video conferencing and decide on the road ahead, with many believing that the IPL could be given a skin this year. However, on the contrary, if a call is indeed taken for the IPL to begin by May, travelling needs to be curtailed because logistics will be an issue.

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“You cannot travel around the country in such a scenario. If we get the necessary permissions, we will have to stick to a place like Maharashtra where we have three stadiums in Mumbai and a stadium in Pune. I am sure this will then help us ensure that teams not only get fresh wickets to play, but also there is minimal travel involved. But before that, the government must deem it fit to organise tournaments. Public and player safety is the priority as the BCCI President has time and again said,” the official explained.

As on early morning Tuesday, the number of COVID cases touched 500 in India and with the numbers likely to increase as per the Health Department, lockdowns across nearly 30 states are expected to continue.

At the moment, the chances of IPL taking place at all appear dim, with its biggest hindrance – barring the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the country – being whether players coming from abroad are allowed visas. This can lead to the IPL being postponed even further and in a worst-case scenario, be entirely called off.

A couple of weeks ago, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said that everyone’s safety and people’s well-being remains the top priority and if at all the IPL takes place, it will be truncated. Last week, a top BCCI source confirmed to Times of India that officials have given up on the possibility of the tournament taking place and hence were eyeing the July-September window to conduct it.

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