NEW DELHI: This year's Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed indefinitely following the COVID-19 pandemic, key franchise officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Originally scheduled to begin on March 29, the eight-team league was initially suspended until Wednesday even as India entered a three-week lockdown last month.
After the lockdown was extended on Tuesday until at least May 3, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials held a teleconference before informing the franchises about a further delay.
"Well, all we know is that it has been shifted indefinitely and BCCI are working on a window in the future," Delhi Capitals chief executive Dheeraj Malhotra told Reuters.
BCCI has yet to make an official announcement but the CEO of another franchise confirmed the decision.
"We have been informed about it being postponed indefinitely, but we're still waiting for an email from the board with details," the official said, requesting anonymity.
IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel did not answer calls from Reuters on Tuesday and Wednesday to elaborate on the league's future plans.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had earlier acknowledged the difficulty in hosting the tournament amid lockdown with travel and other restrictions due to the global health crisis.
"At the present moment, we can’t say anything," the former India captain told New Indian Express newspaper at the weekend.
"Where will you get players from, where do players travel? It’s just simple commonsense that at the moment nothing is in favour of any kind of sport anywhere in the world, forget IPL."
Local media speculated on a possible window in September-October, before this year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.
The uncertainty around this year's edition of the IPL is a big setback, particularly for the 62 cricketers bought for a collective US$18.34 million at the players' auction in December.
Australian Pat Cummins became IPL's most expensive overseas buy ever when the Kolkata Knight Riders paid a staggering US$2.18 million for the fast bowler in the auction in Kolkata.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ken Ferris)