Dr Mansingh: 2020 CPL could still be on
Cricket analyst and sports physician Dr Akshai Mansingh believes that the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season could still happen this year, depending on the health status of participating Caribbean islands.
The eighth edition of the T20 tournament is still scheduled to start in August, but there is uncertainty due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In an ESPNcricinfo report on April 17, CPL organisers explored options for hosting the tournament, including having no fans in attendance. CPL chief operating officer Peter Russell, in that report, said that the time frame allows them not to make a snap decision.
Mansingh, who is also dean of the Faculty of Sport at The University of the West Indies, Mona, believes that it is possible to have the event in some capacity as the number of recoveries climbs regionally, but is waiting to see if the current quarantine period of two weeks will be maintained as it could play a factor.
“The way things are going, the trend that it’s taking, it suggesting that it’s probably going to be feasible to have it in some shape or form. What we have to see is what quarantine periods are because if we continue to have two-week quarantine periods, it would be impractical to move players from jurisdiction to jurisdiction if they have to wait out two weeks of quarantine,” Mansingh told The Gleaner.
Participating countries have been reporting improvements in their fight against the virus. St Kitts and Nevis, which has a CPL franchise (the Patriots), on Monday reported that all 15 of its positive COVID-19 patients had recovered. Local restrictions have been relaxed, but the borders remain closed.
While all six participating countries (Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados) are currently under travel restrictions, for some countries, there are plans to reopen borders in some capacity this summer. St Lucia, for instance, home to the Zouks, has announced a phased reopening, starting with air travel on June 4.
Mansingh said that games could happen in territories that have combated the virus successfully and have removed some travel restrictions.
“So the scenario does exist where in the Caribbean, you can go to certain jurisdictions where COVID would have petered out and then play within a bubble, having no spectators and so on. It might be feasible to have it in one or two territories,” he said. “Island-hopping may be something that has to be reconsidered if quarantined periods are going to be as they are now.”
Mansingh stressed that the organisers have time on their side to determine a path forward.
“It’s not all lost; there is still time. There still is a bit of time to wait and see, but the trend we are seeing in the Caribbean suggests that in some form or the other, it probably would come off,” he said.