Kevin Pietersen bats for 'condensed' IPL without fans


Sports, Cricket

IPL is important not just for players and franchises, but also for the people working behind the scenes and of course fans

Former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen at the 6th M A K Pataudi Memorial Lecture and BCCI Awards, in Bengaluru, in 2018. PTI Photo

New Delhi: The Covid19 pandemic may have indefinitely stalled all sporting activities but former England captain Kevin Pietersen still "truly believes" the 13th edition of IPL should happen the moment there is a window of opportunity.

He proposed a "condensed" league behind closed doors for one of cricket's biggest money-spinners, adding the fans shouldn't be risked.

"Let's say July/August is the earliest, I do truly believe the IPL should happen. I do believe it is the kick-start to the cricket season. I think every single player around the world is desperate to play the IPL," Pietersen said.

The former star batsman expressed his thoughts on Star Sports' show Cricket Connected.

The IPL is important not just for players and franchises, but also for the people working behind the scenes, and this was not lost on Pietersen.

"There could be a way in which to get some money into the franchises, into the economy by having a situation where you use maybe three venues which are completely closed to fans and the players can still go out and play the tournament in three weeks or in four weeks.

"So, it's a more condensed tournament in three venues which we know are safe, which we know are secure," he said.

The competition was slated to begin on March 29, but has been deferred until April 15. However, given the current situation, chances of the event taking place looks bleak.

Nevertheless, Pietersen remained optimistic. "I don't think the fans need to be risked in this situation. I think the fans need to understand they can't watch a live game at the moment and they might not be able to watch a live game for the foreseeable future," he said.

"(But) what would you guys give, to watch Mumbai Indian's versus Chennai Super Kings right now?"

Agreeing with Pietersen, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar spoke on the importance of organising the IPL.

"The moment we get clearances from all the authorities that matter, the IPL should happen, only because it will kick start the economy because when you talk about the IPL it's not just about the Mumbai Indians, or a Dhoni or a Virat Kohli, there are a lot of people who are making their livelihood through the IPL," he said.

Recently, Rajasthan Royals' executive chairman Ranji Bharthakur had said that a "shortened" IPL couldn't be ruled out, provided the BCCI and its other stakeholders are on the same page.