World Cup-winning India off-spinner and Chennai Super Kings star Harbhajan Singh said ensuring the safety of all the stakeholders involved should be a priority before thinking about hosting Indian Premier League (IPL) once normalcy returns after the Covid-19 crisis.
Harbhajan Singh said he enjoys the vibe of the crowd at cricket stadiums but said he doesn’t mind playing without spectators if the situation demands in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Covid-19 crisis has had a massive impact on the global sporting calendar. Some of the biggest events, including the Tokyo Olympics, have either been postponed or cancelled.
The IPL 2020, which was scheduled to begin on March 29, has been suspended until April 15. It remains to be seen if the IPL will get underway this year, considering the increasing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic. As of April 7, more than 4400 people have been infected by the virus which has led to 114 fatalities in India.
“Spectators are important, but if the situation arises, I don’t mind playing without them. Yes, as a player I won’t get the vibe, but this will ensure that every fan will get to watch IPL on their TV,” Harbhajan Singh told Star Sports.
“We will have to be cautious about everything and should prioritise players’ safety by ensuring that the match venues, team hotels, flights are properly sanitized. A lot of lives are on line so we should organise IPL when everything is fine,” he added.
Hope IPL happens soon: Harbhajan
Harbhajan Singh, who last played international cricket in 2016, has been a regular feature in the IPL. The off-spinner has been an integral part of CSK in the recent past.
Stressing that he is missing that time of the year wherein he is involved in competitive cricket, Harbhajan said he is keeping himself fit to play the IPL ‘soon’.
“I miss matches the most, I was hoping that I would get to play 17 matches after a year’s gap,” Harbhajan said.
“I miss our visits to the ground, the hordes of fans waiting to greet us, the bikes that used to ride along our bus and am sure that every fan is missing this as well.
“I hope that IPL happens soon, till then I will keep myself fit.”