Board keeps option of having crowd for IPL’s later stages open

With the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) deciding to hold the last three T20 Internationals against England behind closed doors in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases, it looks clear that whatever chances the Indian Premier League (IPL) had of attracting crowds in the later stages are dissipating fast. Even then, the BCCI is keeping its options open.

While the BCCI had said in an official statement on March 7 earlier that the tournament will be held behind closed doors to begin with, it had said a decision to allow crowds for the later stages would be take later.

On Monday, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal reiterated to IANS that crowds will not attend IPL games but added that the BCCI has still kept the option of having crowds for the later stages of the tournament.

“The initial phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was without crowds only, it was already decided,” said Dhumal while speaking to IANS.

Asked if there are chances of any crowds in the later stages of the tournament, he said, “It will depend on the situation”, and said that the board is yet to take a final call thus keeping the option open.

The IPL games are going to be held at six venues and no team will play at home. The first phase of league games – comprising 20 matches — will be held in Chennai and Mumbai while the action for the next batch of league games — 16 in number — will be held in Ahmedabad and Delhi.

The league action will then move to Bengaluru and Kolkata — for the last 20 league matches.

The playoffs will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The massive crowd in the T20 International series, especially in the second T20I, caused a bit of concern in the wake of a rise in Covid-19 cases.

“India is due to host the T20 World Cup later this year. There is a lot at stake. Anything untoward now, even if a few cases crop up, it can have an impact on the tournament. It can create some problems,” said an official in the know of things.

The Indian board had earlier said in statement, “The fixtures of the tournament have been mapped in a way that every team will travel only three times during the league stage, thus reducing commute and minimising risk. The VIVO IPL this year at home will be played behind closed doors to begin with and a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament.”