Lungi Ngidi. Picture: REUTERS
Lungi Ngidi. Picture: REUTERS

The coronavirus pandemic claimed the biggest domestic cricket scalp when the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) was suspended indefinitely.

The 13th edition of the world’s glitziest T20 tournament was supposed to start on March 29‚ but with the spread of the virus‚ the IPL’s governing council moved the tournament’s start to April 15.

With India’s states all reporting increases in coronavirus cases‚ Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a lockdown‚ which has now been extended to May 3.

According to espncricinfo.com‚ the initial tournament was supposed to take place from March 29 to May 24‚ the international summer window‚ which allows the bulk of the tournament to take place with minimal weather interruption.

The monsoon season from June onwards and the extreme heat in India during summer often make for difficult conditions.

The indefinite suspension of the tournament will come as a blow to a number of internationals as the tournament is a huge money-spinner for players.

The eight franchises throw obscene amounts of money at international players whom they deem to be of huge value.

Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins‚ who would have represented the Kolkata Knight Riders‚ was the most expensive overseas player at $2.2m.

SA is usually well represented at the tournament with the likes of AB de Villiers‚ Quinton de Kock‚ Lungi Ngidi‚ Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada all being starters at their franchises.

With the IPL on hold‚ the tournament follows on the heels of the SA and Australian domestic seasons being curtailed by the virus. Those tournaments were already at an end and proved to be a minimal disruption‚ but England’s county cricket season is also at risk.

The season was supposed to have started on April 12‚ but that has been moved to May 28 with an expected impact on England’s international home season.

The virus‚ which has claimed more than 127,000 lives worldwide‚ also scuppered England’s tour of Sri Lanka, while SA’s limited overs tour of India in March was also cut short.

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