Cummins still hopes IPL, T20 World Cup to go ahead

Updated April 04, 2020

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Cummins is IPL’s most expensive overseas player after the Kolkata Knight Riders acquired him for a staggering $2.18m. — Reuters/File
Cummins is IPL’s most expensive overseas player after the Kolkata Knight Riders acquired him for a staggering $2.18m. — Reuters/File

SYDNEY: Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins expects the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) to be merely delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and is optimistic the home Twenty20 World Cup will go ahead as scheduled later this year.

Cummins is IPL’s most expensive overseas player after the Kolkata Knight Riders acquired him for a staggering $2.18 million in the players’ auction in December.

His record-breaking payday will have to wait, however, as the start of the Twenty20 tournament, originally scheduled for March 29, has been deferred to April 15 and another postponement looks inevitable.

“They obviously haven’t cancelled it or anything like that yet. It’s still a bit of a holding pattern so we’re in contact with our teams every few days,” Cummins told reporters in a video conference on Friday. “Obviously everyone is still really keen for it to go ahead, but the priority is to minimise risk of [the virus] spreading.

“The last I spoke to [franchise officials], they said they’re still really confident and hopeful it [the IPL] will be on at some stage.”

The 26-year-old felt Australia were rather lucky that the disruption came towards the end of their international season.

He hoped the sports world would return to normal again before the Twenty20 World Cup in October-November and Australia’s subsequent home series against India.

“The World Cup is still six-seven months away, and the big India tour is still eight-nine months away. Lots of things can change,” he said. “The T20 World Cup is something we’ve spoken about for the best part of two or three years.

“The [ODI] World Cup in 2015, that was absolutely a career highlight for me and I wasn’t even playing in the final. I’d love to see that go ahead.

“That’s probably the big tournament this year for international cricket ... I’d love for that to happen in a perfect world and if I was to be really greedy, I’d love for the IPL to happen as well.

“I don’t expect anything too soon to happen,” Cummins said, hinting at a possible delay. “I mean obviously the preference would be to be over there playing but... I guess the silver lining is that we do get a bit of a break.”

Even if the IPL does start after April 15, it could be without fans in the stadium and it is not clear that Australian players could attend with travel restrictions still in place.

The two-month tournament is a huge revenue earner.

The Twenty20 competition is estimated to generate more than $11 billion for the Indian economy and involves cricket’s top international stars like England’s Ben Stokes, Australia’s David Warner and Indian captain Virat Kohli.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020