Ganguly confirms No IPL postponement amid Coronavirus fears
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday confirmed that discussions are on in the government on whether to postpone the Indian Premier League due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in India.
The 13th edition of the IPL will start from March 29 with 7 matches to be played in Mumbai, including the opener between defending champions Mumbai Indians and last year's finalists Chennai Super Kings.
Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India has risen to 42, as of Monday. One new case each has been reported from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said, adding that no deaths have been reported yet.
"There is always a danger of spread (of contagious diseases) when people gather in large numbers. Such events can always be organised later. So discussion is on whether to postpone the IPL," Rajesh Tope told reporters.
The Maharashtra Health Ministry released the statement on Monday saying "15 people are under observation while 258 have been discharged. Not a single person has been found positive for coronavirus infection in the state, as of now."
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly meanwhile confirmed to India Today that the IPL will be held as per schedule and also assured everybody associated with the cash-rich league that the board will be taking all necessary precautions before and during the tournament.
"It's on...and BCCI will take all protection (against coronavirus)," Ganguly said when asked how the board was dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
A senior BCCI official also confirmed that the board would replicate the precautionary guidelines recommended by the government and send them to all the stakeholders which includes players, franchises, airlines, team hotels, broadcast crews and everyone else involved in the running of the tournament.
The board is also likely to advise players not to shake hands with fans or even possibly take pictures with devices that are not their own.