Melbourne: Australian pacer Pat Cummins has said that the safety of fans should be the priority amid the global coronavirus pandemic and that’s why if a situation arises, he won’t mind playing the Indian Premier League (IPL) before empty stands.
The 13th IPL edition, which was due to start on March 29, remains suspended till April 15 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And with there being an increase in a number of COVID-19 patients with each passing day, the chances of IPL taking place in the near future are grim.
Cummins, while speaking to BBC Sport, said he remains “super hopeful” that the tournament will go ahead.
“The first priority is safety but the second one is getting back to normality, finding that balance,” he said. “If that, unfortunately, means no crowds for a while, then that is that, but hopefully people can watch at home on TV.
The 26-year-old, who was named one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year on Wednesday, said playing the IPL behind closed doors would have a “totally different feel about it”.
“When people ask about the difference between playing cricket in India the first thing is the crowd,” he said.
“They scream every single ball whether it’s a six or a wicket – it’s the same noise every ball – so that atmosphere is something that we love about playing in India.
“It will be missed in the short term if it can’t happen, but I have no doubt it will be a great event even if it has to be played without crowds,” he added.
India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh recently said that a lot of lives are on the line and that’s why he won’t mind playing without spectators if the situation demands.
The BCCI is now looking at the October-November window to host the tournament. But the move can only be possible if the ICC decides to postpone the T20 World Cup that is to be held from October 18 to November 15 in Australia.