Staging of IPL critical to country's morale, says Delhi chairmanSaturday, May 30, 2020
NEW DELHI, India (CMC) — Delhi Capitals Chairman Parth Jindal believes the return of the Indian Premier League (IPL) would help boost the morale of a nation fighting to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
India closed its borders in March in an effort to contain the spread of the virus which has so far resulted in 158,000 infections and 4,531 deaths nationwide.
The lucrative IPL, which features a galaxy of West Indies Twenty20 stars, was expected to bowl off in March but has been suspended indefinitely.
“COVID-19 has put live sports in a difficult spot, especially in terms of fan engagement,” said Jindal, whose franchise boasts the West Indies pair of all-rounder Keemo Paul and stroke-maker Shimron Hetmyer.
“The need for live sports has never been felt in this way before, and it's vital to bring it back to heighten the morale of the population.”
Media reports here say the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) is eyeing the October-November window for the hosting of the tournament. The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played during that period but the International Cricket Council is yet to confirm it will go ahead.
And while not calling outright for authorities to push ahead with the staging of the IPL, Jindal said India needed to look to the example of countries like England and Germany where live sports were resuming amidst the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
“Globally, there are countries worse affected than India who are gradually resuming their national leagues – like the Premier League in England, and Bundesliga in Germany,” he pointed out.
“Talks have begun on the NBA's comeback in America too. I feel the IPL has a huge role in uplifting the spirits of the country.”
He added: “There can be no substitute for live sport. Fans may not have access to stadiums this year, but that will give the franchises and broadcasters an opportunity to innovate their fan engagement even more.”
Several of the IPL's biggest names hail from the Caribbean, with the likes of veteran batsman Chris Gayle, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, off-spinner Sunil Narine, and West Indies white-ball Captain Kieron Pollard down to participate.
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