“IPL without fans is like marriage without guests, but it will happen,” says Irfan Pathan

The IPL 13 was supposed to begin on March 29.

This flavor of fans supporting their franchises might be missing if IPL 13 happensFormer India cricketer Irfan Pathan said that though the idea of hosting IPL 2020 behind closed doors seemed absurd, given the current circumstance of COVID-19 pandemic, it is the only way to ensure the tournament happens.

The coronavirus had forced the first ODI between Australia and New Zealand to be played behind closed doors, and the next two matches were called off. We had seen Lockie Ferguson climbed up the empty stands at the Sydney Cricket Ground to retrieve the ball, which made headlines.

The IPL 13 was supposed to begin on March 29, but the pandemic forced it to be suspended indefinitely. The BCCI is trying to hold the tournament in the window that might be created if the T20 World Cup to be played in Australia is postponed, but the ICC has delayed the decision on it till July.

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Even if the tournament is held, it would be without the presence of fans and Irfan Pathan termed it as marriage without guests. "Barati ke bina shaadi adhuri lagti hai (a marriage is incomplete without guests), so we will have the same feeling (IPL without fans) as well," the former India all-rounder said.

"But barati ke bina bhi shaadi hoti hai. Kai log court mein jaake bhi shaadi karte hain, eventually shaadi hona hai (but marriages do happen without guests, some opt for court marriage, but eventually marriages happen)," he added.

The swing-bowling all-rounder has played for multiple IPL teams during his career, including Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Rising Pune Supergiants, and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Irfan admitted that sport without spectators is incomplete, but says it should be accepted if it brings back live cricket.

"In terms of the whole atmosphere, you cannot have the same atmosphere and the same excitement that you get when the crowd is shouting at batsmen to hit fours and sixes," the 35-year-old said.

"But looking at the situation, the pandemic, people will still prefer to watch some live cricket. How much old cricket are you going to watch? You always want live cricket because there is excitement, you don't know what's going to happen," he added.

Even RCB captain Virat Kohli had said that the magic would be missing if fans are not there in the stadium to support their teams. And Irfan Pathan agreed with Kohli.

"100%, there is no doubt about it. The magic will be missing and I believe without crowds, you won't have the same kind of feeling," said Pathan.

However, he added that Indian players who are used to playing in empty stadiums in domestic matches, won’t feel any different.  “When you look at any other domestic cricket in the world, even in India in some parts, hardly any crowd comes. So players are used to playing without crowds," Pathan claimed.

"It is one of the best leagues in the world, not only in cricket but in terms of other sports as well. People look forward to it everywhere. It will be a treat for the people and something to look forward to every day, even if it is a shorter tournament,” Pathan said on why IPL 2020 should happen.

(Times of India inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 15 Jun, 2020

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