Last week, it appeared that Indian cricket would finally get back to normal as the Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SCB) confirmed that it had worked out a deal with the BCCI to proceed with a bilateral series where India would tour Sri Lanka for a 3 match T20 and 3 match ODI series.
The series was expected to be the first both cricketing nations since all forms of cricket was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The short series was supposed to be ideal for both teams as they slowly get back into international cricket action. The confirmation was encouraging as millions of cricket fans were excited to see the men in blue back in action again.
India was supposed to tour Sri Lanka and then do a short tour of Zimbabwe and the two tours would be in June and July.
However, the BCCI has now confirmed that India will not tour both Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe due to the on-going concerns of COVID-19. There is no specific reason as to why the BCCI has suddenly decided to take a U-turn on the decision but it does not come entirely as a surprise as both the BCCI and the SCB had made it clear that the bilateral series would only take place provided both boards got the backing of their respective governments.
COVID-19 Threat Still Too Serious For India To Play
It is interesting to note that the BCCI is looking to resume international cricketing action with an overseas tour rather than a home tour. This is mainly because India is now in crisis mode having unenviably secured the fourth spot on the list of countries with the most number of COVID-19 restrictions. These numbers have exploded even though multiple states throughout India continue to be in different stages of lockdown.
The central government has not found a solution to curb the spread of the coronavirus and hence it appears that it is highly unlikely in the next two months that India would be in a position to host any cricket matches in India – be it international or domestic.
The only solution was to look overseas and get the Indian team to travel to resume cricketing action. However, it appears that this solution will also have to be placed on the back-burner as a BCCI official has confirmed that they have been in talks with the Central Government and the general consensus is that it is not safe for overseas travel at this point in time.
Focus Must Be On Training Rather Than Playing
The recent discussions and decision to cancel tours to India and Sri Lanka have made it very obvious to the BCCI that they cannot rush the process and it is quite likely that Indian cricket will take another two or three months to resume.
The BCCI will have to focus on getting clearance first from the government on allowing players to resume training. The BCCI has made preparations to hold a training camp to get the Indian squad fit again in both mental and physical aspects. However, the camp cannot commence until the government gives the BCCI the green light.
Coaching staff of the Indian cricket team have mapped out a 6-8 week training program where they will use progressive overload to build the players up to test match fitness. Given the fact that it could take a minimum of 6 weeks before they are ready to play, it is highly likely that we are not going to see the Indian cricket team in action until late August or early September.
BCCI Unable To Make Decision On IPL Timeframe
The BCCI will not be impressed with the recent decision made by the ICC to postpone making a decision on the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in October in Australia. The ICC was expected to confirm last week whether the T20 World Cup would proceed as per plan or be postponed but the committee decided to wait till July before making a final decision. The BCCI is eager to host the IPL this year and was anticipating hosting the tournament in place of the T20 World Cup – if it gets cancelled. The BCCI will have to wait patiently till July to know whether it can fit the IPL in during 2020 or have to cancel the season!