Sourav Ganguly hints at having crowd with limited gathering during IPL 2020

The preparation of the league faced a huge blow last week when 13 members from Chennai Super Kings were tested positive for COVID-19.

Pakistan Super League
An almost empty stadium in Dubai. (Photo Source: Twitter/Saj_PakPassion)

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The 13th season of IPL is just a fortnight away and the excitement for the league is on its peak. Arguably the biggest T20 exhibition has been shifted to UAE this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the whole cricket fraternity is waiting for the schedule of the event, Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI President, hinted for better news. He indicated that there might be a possibility of the crowd to come and watch the match with a restricted gathering.

With the cricket being halted due to the pandemic, the fans are eagerly waiting for the cash-rich league to begin. The media pundits and the official broadcaster have speculated the event to record all-time highest viewership on television and OTT platform. However, as watching the game live in the stadium is a different experience altogether, the viewership experience also gets affected if the crowd is not present at the ground.

While delivering an online lecture as part of the ‘Symbiosis Golden Jubilee Lecture Series’, Sourav Ganguly talked about the significance of not having the spectators’ presence, given the current conditions.

“Crowds will watch it on television…they (the broadcasters) are actually expecting the highest rating of IPL this season because they believe if (people) don’t turn up in the ground, they will be actually watching on their television sets,” he said. “There is a positive in everything,” he added.

There might be a possibility of 30% crowd in stadiums: Sourav Ganguly

The BCCI President has hinted that they might be open to allow 30% crowd to watch the games. The situation in the UAE is far better than India and the number of cases is reducing drastically.

Asked how cricketers would feel about playing in front of vacant stands, Ganguly said, “Because of the COVID and infection, you don’t want people to be too close to each other, but very soon you will see there will be 30 per cent people in the ground with social distancing.”

“They are properly tested and allowed to enter the ground. But I think that is going to happen over a period of time. We could have easily avoided the IPL…but then, that’s what we humans are and that’s why we have survived all the difficult times,” he added.

The preparation of the league faced a huge blow last week when 13 members from Chennai Super Kings were tested positive for COVID-19. The roster is delayed for the same reason as the CSK is supposed to play the 1st game of the season against Mumbai Indians. However, the schedule is finally expected to come out on Friday.