LONDON: England's all-rounder Ben Stokes said that he is preparing for the 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) despite India has been locked down for 21 days and has suspended the event due to the pandemic coronavirus.
IPL, which was originally scheduled to start from March 29th, has now been postponed to April 15th but with the announcement of three weeks' complete lockdown, the chances that it could be on the postponed date are very bleak.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Stokes said, "At the moment my next competitive cricket is going to be in the IPL. I have to get my head round that I am playing even though in the back of my mind I know I am probably not. I have to build up and get myself physically in a position that if it does happen, I am good to go. I cannot take three weeks off and expect the body to be ready for 20 April because it doesn't work like that. It might happen and if it does, I don't want to be behind."
The Board of Control For Cricket in India (BCCI) still believes that it can pull off IPL 2020 if everything comes under control by the end of April and the first match is played by the first week of May.
A BCCI official said, "The latest we can wait is till the end of April. If the first game isn't played by the first week of May then it will be almost impossible to have the league this year. Even if we have to wait till the end of April to follow all the procedures, we can take a cue from the South Africa edition and conduct the league successfully. If you remember, that was the shortest IPL with 59 games played over 37 days and we can do the same. But certain measures will have to be taken."
The Sports Ministry has made it clear that the fate of IPL 2020 can only be decided after the government comes out with fresh advisory after 15th April keeping in view the situation of the country regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.