Former India batting great Sunil Gavaskar says holding Indian Premier League games behind closed doors should be a last resort.
The former Test batsman and renowned cricket commentator has called on authorities to look into other solutions before rushing ahead and deciding to play without fans in stadiums.
The IPL was due to start in March but has now been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe. There have been suggestions that IPL2020 could be held behind closed doors rather than being cancelled. There is also the possibility it could take place in October should the T20 World Cup in Australia fail to go-ahead.
“I think that’s going to be absolutely the last resort (to play behind closed doors) otherwise you know when you can’t have absolutely anyone at the ground only then you should play without crowds,” he said in an interview with India Today.
“Every performer likes to perform in front of a crowd which appreciates the skills and temperament. Same in theatre. So, I think it’s not going to be easy on the performers as well. Players also want to do the high fives and hugs.”
Vaccine could be the only answer
Gavaskar admits that the only solution to the COVID-19 outbreak and the only way to guarantee fans will be back in stadiums anytime soon will be the discovery of a vaccine.
“Officials of all the various sporting federations would certainly be banging their heads together to find a solution and I am sure there are many intelligent people in there to be able to come up with some sort of a solution which will keep everybody happy but it's not going to be easy,” Gavaskar said.
“The only solution that I can think of is the vaccine being discovered very, very quickly. If that happens maybe we might be able to get some fans in the stands by the end of the year.
“We are still about seven months away so it’s still possible to do so. But you don’t even know who does not have the COVID-19. You could be sitting at 10 feet away from somebody but something can still be transferred. I mean even if you go to the ground and are sitting at a fair distance you won’t have the sense of comfort that you’d feel unless you were certain you are safe.”