Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly has insisted professional cricket won't be played in the country for the foreseeable future.
The bulk of international sport around the world has been suspended amid the spread of the coronavirus. Germany's premier football league, Bundesliga, is among the first to publicise a likely return in May.
Ganguly, however, has maintained the Indian Premier League and other cricket in the sub-continental nation has been indefinitely deferred.
“The social reality of Germany and India are different, there will be no cricket in India in the near future,” Ganguly told the Times of India.
“There are too many ifs and buts involved. More importantly, I don't believe in sport when there is a risk to human life.”
Indian Premier League
The start of this year's edition of the IPL was moved from 29 March to 15 April. The tournament was then suspended indefinitely amid the Indian government's travel ban and other strict measures.
The Mumbai Indians are the reigning IPL champions. They have won the title four times. The Chennai Super Kings have won the title three times. Mumbai beat Chennai in last year's final. They are scheduled to contest this year's tournament opener.
“When IPL teams travel, there's a huge crowd at the airports, hotels, outside the stadium. How are you going to stop them if you are looking to maintain social distancing? There should be no top-flight cricket till there is a vaccine for the coronavirus,” said Chennai spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Super Kings chief executive officer KS Viswanathan concurred: “Did you see the crowds during our practice sessions at Chepauk when we said we can't allow people inside the ground. Lives are at stake, you can't control Indian crowds that easily. Yes, there will be financial losses, but we have to live with it.”
The Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore have never won an IPL title. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen used to captain the Capitals (formerly known as the Daredevils) and Bangalore. He has suggested the 2020 IPL be played without spectators over a relatively brief period later this year.