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Laxman, Gavaskar bat for closed doors IPL if safe

New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) Former batsmen Sunil Gavaskar and V.V.S. Laxman said the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) should be held in empty stadiums if that serves everyone’s best interests. Gavaskar said that there is an example of a cricket match being played behind closed doors in India.

“There is one example of an India-Pakistan match played in front of empty stands in Eden Gardens Kolkata after Sachin (Tendulkar) got run out and there was unrest in the crowd,” Gavaskar said in a pre-match show for Star Sports.

“I think the game was stopped on that particular day but the next day it was continued in front of empty stands. So there is a precedent as far Indian cricket is concerned. So clearly if it has to happen then it can happen. Whatever it is the best for everyone that has to be taken into account. And if it’s best for everyone to play in front of empty stands, so be it.”

Laxman also said that as long as it is not risky for those who will have to be present in the stadium, it can be held behind closed doors. “As long as it is not risky for players, the support staff, broadcasters, camera persons the tournament can go on and playing in front of empty stands is not a problem,” he said.

“You see the way IPL is followed, millions of people watch it on TV whereas the spectators who come to the ground will be around 30-40 thousand, based on the capacity of the ground.

“Yes, as cricketers you want to play in front of a large crowd but eventually, if it is risky then we are better off playing in empty stands, making sure everyone’s well being is taken care of and the people sitting in their drawing rooms can enjoy the live action.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had on Friday decided to defer the start of the IPL to April 15.

–IANS

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