Cricket fans across the country are keeping their fingers crossed that the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) goes ahead at some stage later in the year as the country looks to return to normalcy post the coronavirus pandemic. And former India bowler Irfan Pathan is no different as he also hopes that the tournament does get a go-ahead this season after being initially postponed due to the pandemic.

Speaking on Star Sports Cricket Connected, Irfan Pathan said, “I just read the statement yesterday that they are trying their best to have an IPL. Everybody is looking forward to that stage. A lot of people are talking about the World Cup happening in Australia, I have my doubts because in Australia, I have been there. These guys in Australia follow their rules very particularly. Even if it’s the smallest rule, they go by the norm. They look after each and every situation. Getting quite a few games altogether, with the quarantine and everything, I think it looks very difficult.

“In that regard, the statement coming from Sourav Ganguly as the president of BCCI that the IPL will happen at some stage, that’s great news not only for Indian cricketers but for all cricketers around the world as well. I’m looking forward to it as well. That does give a lot of reassurance to all the cricketers.”

Earlier, former BCCI Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry had spoken how having the IPL would help the domestic structure as well.

“It is the IPL GC’s decision, but my view is that effort has to be made to try and have that situation where the show must go on,” Chaudhry said during a Webinar arranged by Neerja Modi School on Zoom platform. “It is important for domestic players also. The revenue is also important from it.”

In fact, Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Earl Eddings said on Tuesday that hosting the T20 World Cup in Australia at the end of the year looks ‘unrealistic’ amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“While it hasn’t been formally called off this year, or postponed, trying to get sixteen countries into Australia in the current world, where most countries are still going through COVID spiking, I think it is unrealistic, or it’s going to be very, very difficult,” said Eddings on Tuesday in a virtual press conference. “The ICC are having meetings as we speak, it’s a bit of a movable feast at the moment.”

As for the BCCI, they have made it clear that they will look to host the IPL if the T20 World Cup gets postponed.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill and the sporting arena is no exception. Most of the high profile tournaments including the Olympics stand postponed.

After Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A have recently become the other high-profile sporting events to resume after almost a three month period with almost no sporting activity. Premier League will also resume tonight.

A few cricketing boards around the world have only recently granted permission to their players to resume training.

The move to restart sporting leagues and tournaments comes after governments are beginning to realise that the coronavirus is here to stay for quite some time and sports among other businesses will need to find a way to co-exist with it.

The virus has already infected more than 8 million people around the world while claiming over 430 thousand lives. There is still no sure shot treatment of the disease and social-distancing, self-isolation and maintenance of basic hand hygiene remain the only potent weapons of protecting oneself from contracting the infection.

(With inputs from IANS)