New Delhi [India], Mar 29 (ANI): When the schedule of the 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) came out, fans had something to smile about as the date for MS Dhoni's on-field return was set for March 29.
If all had gone as per the plan, the former skipper would have taken the field for the first time in a span of eight months.
Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings was supposed to take on Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium later today, but as fate has it, now it is not known even whether the IPL would actually go ahead or not.
The wicket-keeper batsman Dhoni had travelled to Chennai as well for practicing his skills but two weeks back, things started to go array as coronavirus disrupted all the plans.
Dhoni was last seen in action during the 2019 Cricket World Cup and after that, the wicket-keeper batsman had missed quite a few bilateral cricket series, which has given the Indian side groom the likes of Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul as the wicket-keeper.
In the World Cup, Dhoni managed to score 273 runs, however, he faced flak for his slow batting approach in the match against England.
The BCCI also dropped the former skipper from its list of centrally contracted players.
If 38-year-old Dhoni wanted to make it to the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup later this year, the IPL was the right platform for him.
However with the IPL's postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the going looks tough for the former Indian skipper.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all sporting action across the world had been stopped, and all eyes were on the BCCI to see what will happen to the biggest crowd-pleasing tournament in the country.
The World Health Organisation had termed the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic on March 11 and the BCCI was under a lot of pressure to just postpone the tournament.
Finally, on March 13, the BCCI decided to postpone the IPL as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the board just had two options-- either postpone the tournament or play it behind closed doors.
But with rising numbers in cases and with state governments saying no to IPL, the board opted to postpone the tournament.
Since that decision, things have not changed as far as COVID-19 is concerned, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 decided to impose a 21-day lockdown in the country.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases has risen to 979 in India including 867 active cases, 86 cured or discharged people and 25 deaths. With the lockdown and visa/flight restrictions, the fate of the IPL looks bleak as of now. (ANI)