Cricket, like so many other sports, is now taking a big hit because of the ever-expanding threat of Corona Virus or COVID-19. Around the world, cricket matches will be played, in the near future, in empty stadiums while the players are likely to desist from things like shaking hands and using their saliva to shine the ball.
But now, a much bigger question faces the cricket world – more specifically, the Indian cricket establishment. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is due to get underway on March 29. But with the number of people suffering from this dangerous virus steadily increasing in India, many people are wondering whether the tournament should be held at all.
In the latest development, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has revealed that they have advised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to not go through with the tournament at this time due to the danger involved. In a press conference, the spokesperson of the ministry, Raveesh Kumar informed the media about this development.
"I think it is for the organizers to decide whether to go ahead with it or not. Our advice would be to not do it at this time but if they want to go ahead, it is their decision. For now, non-essential travel is banned. But there is no specific detail on sporting events. As of now, there is no definitive answer. We will see how things pan out and then advise," Kumar said.
Impact on other tournaments
Corona Virus has arrived on Indian shores and already, it has prompted the BCCI to take some very important decisions. The ongoing ODI series between India and South Africa, which got off to a bad start as the first match was washed out, will see the remaining two matches played in front of empty stands.
Across the border, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) too, has decided to prevent spectators from coming in for their T20 tournament – Pakistan Super League. Other measures being taken by cricket boards include releasing a clear list of do's and don'ts for the players. They have been advised against shaking hands and even using saliva on the ball to shine it.
Cricket isn't the only sport which is facing these kinds of troubles. The most prestigious international badminton event that India hosts – Indian Open – too will be played without any crowd. One wonders whether this will also be the fate of IPL. With telecast and sponsorship rights having been sold, it is quite possible that the tournament won't be cancelled but modified. Let's wait and watch.