No threat to South Africa series, IPL at present: Brijesh Patel

Brijesh Patel
IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel. File photo: AFP

Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is monitoring the development of the coronavirus outbreak in the country but says there is no current threat to its flagship Indian Premier League (IPL), with the franchise-based tournament scheduled to start later this month.

The fast-spreading coronavirus has reached some 80 nations with more new cases now reported outside China where the flu-like illness first emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

The virus has killed more than 3,200, most of them in China. It has infected more than 95,000 people globally with India reporting 29 confirmed cases.

The 13th season of the eight-team IPL, which is played in cricket's shortest Twenty20 format, is scheduled to begin on March 29 with a match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

The national team, however, will take on South Africa in three One-Day Internationals before that, starting with the first match in the northern city of Dharamsala next Thursday.

"We are keeping a tab on the situation. Before the IPL we have the South Africa series. Everything is on schedule currently," IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel told Reuters on Thursday.

Coronavirus has had a major impact on sports with a number of international sporting events either cancelled or postponed after the outbreak.

The IPL, featuring celebrity owners and top business houses, draws the world's top cricketers and will run for seven weeks with the final scheduled for May 17.

The IPL's brand value has soared over the years since its 2008 launch and grew to an estimated $6.8 billion in 2019, according to New York-based corporate finance advisory firm Duff & Phelps.

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