Former Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Kevin Pietersen has suggested this year's edition of the Indian Premier League go ahead without spectators.
The start of the 2020 IPL has been moved from 29 March to 15 April amid spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament might be delayed more because of stringent measures by the Indian government.
“Let's say July or August is the earliest, I do truly believe the IPL should happen,” Pietersen said on Star Sports Cricket Connected.
“I do believe it is the kick-start to the cricket season. I think every single player around the world is desperate to play the IPL. There could be a way in which to get some money into the franchises, into the economy by having a situation where you use maybe three venues which are completely closed to fans and the players can still go out and play the tournament in three weeks or in four weeks.
“So it's a more condensed tournament in three venues, which we know are safe, which we know are secure. I don't think the fans need to be risked in this situation. I think the fans need to understand they can't watch a live game at the moment and they might not be able to watch a live game for the foreseeable future. But what would you guys give right now, to watch Mumbai Indians versus Chennai Super Kings right now?”
Agreement with Pietersen
Former India batsman and renowned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar agreed with Pietersen. Manjrekar reminded all and sundry that the tournament doesn't just fund the players and franchises.
“The moment we get clearances from all the authorities that matter, the IPL should happen. Only because it will kickstart the economy because when you talk about the IPL it's not just about the Mumbai Indians, or a MS Dhoni or a Virat Kohli, there are a lot of people who are making their livelihood through the IPL,” he added.
The Mumbai Indians are the reigning IPL champions. They beat the Chennai Super Kings in last year's final. Mumbai have won the title four times. Chennai have been crowned champions on three occasions.