The latest set of guidelines for phased re-opening, or Unlock 1.0, by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday gives the Board of Control for Cricket in India hope that they can host the Indian Premier League sometime this year.
The guidelines issued pointed to resumption of international air travel, sports events and large congregations 'based on assessment of the situation' in Phase 3. The operative part of the MHA order related to sport read:
"Based on assessment of the situation, dates for restarting following will be decided for unternational air travel of passengers, gymnasiums, swimming pools, social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions and large congregations."
Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services are also set to reopen on June 8.
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal called the development a 'positive'.
"It’s a positive. If international travel resumes, and sporting activities will be allowed, then we can plan for the future," he was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
The BCCI CEO Rahul Johri had earlier indicated that the IPL could be held sometime after the monsoon ends, saying it was an integral part of the calendar. The fate of the tournament would depend on the ICC decision on the T20 World Cup, which is currently scheduled for October-November this year in Australia. With Australia saying they're not in a position to hold it, the ICC is set to make a decision on the tournament on June 10.
In the meantime, the board could also consider a national camp to ensure players get back to their fitness and skill-based routine after months of inaction.
"As far as getting a pool of players together for a camp, again we will have to wait for things to normalise further. What we can have for now is individual players working in facilities in their respective cities, based on advice from state governments," said Dhumal.
Barring Shardul Thakur, who hit the nets in the outskirts of Mumbai recently, a large part of the Indian cricketers are yet to train outdoors.
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