Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who plies his trade for the Chennai Super Kings at the Indian Premier League(IPL), said that he would like to see the cash-rich league being played at empty stadiums.
At a time when IPL is likely to be scrapped this year due to ongoing crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Harbhajan feels the tournament should be staged after the coronavirus situation is brought under control as several livelihoods are dependent on IPL.
“Spectators are important, but if the situation arises, I don’t mind playing without them. Yes, as a player I won’t get the vibe, but this will ensure that every fan will get to watch IPL on their TV,” Harbhajan told Star Sports’ Cricket Connected as quoted by PTI.
“We will have to be cautious about everything and should prioritise players’ safety by ensuring that the match venues, team hotels, flights are properly sanitized. A lot of lives are on line so we should organise IPL when everything is fine,” he added.
The IPL 2020, which was scheduled to be played from March 29, has been postponed to April 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has already affected more than 4,400 people and killed over 110 in India.
“I miss matches the most, was hoping that I would get to play 17 matches (including finals) after a year’s gap. I miss our visits to the ground, the hordes of fans waiting to greet us, the bikes that used to ride along our bus and am sure that every fan is missing this as well,” Harbhajan said.
With India in the middle of a 21-day lockdown till April 14 in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, IPL 2020 has been subjected to an existential crisis as the April 15 is unlikely to happen. An official statement is still awaited.
Meanwhile, a report last week had stated that the BCCI was considering the October-November window to host the 13th edition of the IPl with a hope that the ICC T20 World Cup, due to happen at that time, would be postponed.
But the BCCI official, who hinted about the October-November window, has admitted that a lot of calculations will be involved for such a situation to arise. And he hoped that by October the world learns to tame the novel coronavirus, which has already killed over 58,000 people and affected over 11 lakh worldwide.