The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will get underway next weekend in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is perhaps the best possible news in the current scenario as far as millions of cricket fans are concerned.
While IPL action will kick start on September 19, the domestic cricket will have to wait for at least a couple of months to begin considering the ever-increasing spread of Covid-19 situation in the country.
The present circumstances are so bad that there is speculation that the entire domestic cricket season in India will be cancelled.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to hold a curtailed domestic season in India and had already announced last month that only Ranji Trophy (December 13 to March 10) and Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 (November 19 to December 7) tournaments will be held, starting from November. The BCCIâ€™s provisional schedule has listed only Ranji Trophy and Mushtaq Ali T20 this season.
Due to lack of time because of IPL and pandemic, the BCCI has already decided to axe Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy this season.
When the strong rumour going around that there will be no domestic season, there is one good news which will definitely delight the sagging morale of hundreds of domestic players and all the stakeholders associated with it.
Pondicherry is resuming cricket matches and conducting trials for the domestic season from November 16 (Wednesday). Pondicherry Ranji team is in the Plate Group.
The Cricket Association of Pondicherry (CAP) has obtained the necessary permission from the local government to resume matches for various categories subject to strictly following health and safety protocols of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). If CAP does so they will be one of the first State associations to restart cricketing activities.
Meanwhile, the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) is awaiting Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) from the State Government to resume its activities.
The VCA vice-president Prashant Vaidya has acknowledged that there is positive news coming from Pondicherry but said that he doesnâ€™t know when cricket will begin in the city.
â€œI really donâ€™t know when we will start although we are keen to get going desperately. It’s very heartening news that Pondicherry is resuming the cricket activities. Maybe the impact of the pandemic is less there. In Maharashtra, we are the worst hit and it will take time to improve the situation. We will wait and watch theÂ situation,â€ said Vaidya.
The chairman of the Cricket Administration and Development Committee, Vaidya said off-the-field activities are very much on and they are just waiting for the government nod.
â€œAll our players are strictly following the online sessions and keeping themselves absolutely fit. Lockdown has been extended in Nagpur till September 30 and therefore group activities are prohibited. However, if there is some relaxation after September 30, we would certainly start our preparations for the upcoming season. We are ready and just waiting for the green signal from the State Government and NMC authorities. We are hopeful of some cricket activities next month provided the raging pandemic subsidies,â€ said Vaidya.
The former international cricketer is optimistic that a curtailed domestic cricket season takes place this year.
â€œHundreds of First-Class players are eager to play. Thousands of livelihoods are dependent on domestic cricket including the umpires, scorers and groundsmen. At the moment the situation is not right for any cricket but hopefully, things will improve in the weeks to come,â€ said Vaidya, who is one of the chief architects of two back-to-back Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 by the Vidarbha Ranji side.