Kevin Pietersen and Sanjay Manjrekar both agreed that the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season should be held, even if it means games being played in empty stadiums. Speaking on a Star Sports show, they said that a shortened IPL season could be scheduled in July/August.
“Let’s say July/August is the earliest, I do truly believe the IPL should happen. I do believe it is the kick-start to the cricket season. I think every single player around the world is desperate to play the IPL,” Pietersen said on Saturday.
However, Pietersen suggested that three venues are identified which are not near hotspots of the virus and that games be staged there without allowing fans in. He said this would be a way to help the economy – which is bracing for the long-term effects of the lockdown enforced in many places across the world to combat the crisis.
“There could be a way in which to get some money into the franchises, into the economy. (IPL can) use maybe three venues which are completely closed to fans and the players can still go out and play the tournament in 3 weeks or in 4 weeks. So, it’s a more condensed tournament in 3 venues which we know are safe, which we know are secure,” he said.
He added, “I don’t think the fans need to be risked in this situation. I think the fans need to understand they can’t watch a live game at the moment and they might not be able to watch a live game for the foreseeable future. [But] what would you guys give right now, to watch Mumbai Indian’s v Chennai Super Kings right now?”
🔝Priority: #StayHomeStaySafe 💪
Like Pat, we all want IPL and Cricket to get back on track, but first, we’ve gotta beat this #CoronaVirusOutbreak together ✅
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) April 4, 2020
Sanjay Manjrekar, speaking on the same show, said the IPL is a source of livelihood for many people – not just the players or even the support staff – and said having the season will help many people get back on their feet after the Covid-19 health crisis.
“The moment we get clearances from all the authorities that matter, the IPL should happen, only because it will kick start the economy because when you talk about the IPL it’s not just about the Mumbai Indians, or a Dhoni or a Virat Kohli, there are a lot of people who are making their livelihood through the IPL”