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Regional Sports News
SYDNEY: Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins expects the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) to be merely delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and is optimistic the home Twenty20 World Cup will go ahead as scheduled later this year.
Cummins is IPL’s most expensive overseas player after the Kolkata Knight Riders acquired him for a staggering $2.18 million in the players’ auction in December.
His record-breaking payday will have to wait, however, as the start of the Twenty20 tournament, originally scheduled for March 29, has been deferred to April 15 and another postponement looks inevitable.
“They obviously haven’t cancelled it or anything like that yet. It’s still a bit of a holding pattern so we’re in contact with our teams every few days,” Cummins told reporters in a video conference on Friday. “Obviously everyone is still really keen for it to go ahead, but the priority is to minimise risk of [the virus] spreading.
“The last I spoke to [franchise officials], they said they’re still really confident and hopeful it [the IPL] will be on at some stage.”
The 26-year-old felt Australia were rather lucky that the disruption came towards the end of their international season.
He hoped the sports world would return to normal again before the Twenty20 World Cup in October-November and Australia’s subsequent home series against India.
“The World Cup is still six-seven months away, and the big India tour is still eight-nine months away. Lots of things can change,” he said. “The T20 World Cup is something we’ve spoken about for the best part of two or three years.
“The [ODI] World Cup in 2015, that was absolutely a career highlight for me and I wasn’t even playing in the final. I’d love to see that go ahead.
“That’s probably the big tournament this year for international cricket ... I’d love for that to happen in a perfect world and if I was to be really greedy, I’d love for the IPL to happen as well.
“I don’t expect anything too soon to happen,” Cummins said, hinting at a possible delay. “I mean obviously the preference would be to be over there playing but... I guess the silver lining is that we do get a bit of a break.”
Even if the IPL does start after April 15, it could be without fans in the stadium and it is not clear that Australian players could attend with travel restrictions still in place.
The two-month tournament is a huge revenue earner.
The Twenty20 competition is estimated to generate more than $11 billion for the Indian economy and involves cricket’s top international stars like England’s Ben Stokes, Australia’s David Warner and Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020
LONDON: The professional International Swimming League (ISL) will fund its contracted athletes through to next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics with monthly payments from September, the series announced on Friday.
It also plans a five-week combined training and competition event from Oct 14 to Nov 17 this year at a location to be decided and subject to developments in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hungary’s 2016 triple Olympic gold medallist Katinka Hosszu said the ‘Solidarity Program’ would provide peace of mind for many swimmers at a time of uncertainty with some countries in lockdown as they battle the new coronavirus.
“For us athletes, it’s really important to get over this period of time and everyone will be able to prepare for next summer,” she said. “They have some security as well as some racing and training camps to look forward to.”
No financial details were provided but the swimming world website said 320 athletes would get $1,500 a month with $11 million set aside for wages, bonuses and prize money in a condensed season.
The ISL launched last year as a fast-paced competition with 10 teams from Europe and North America featuring an array of world and Olympic champions and bankrolled by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin.
The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled to start in July this year, have been postponed to July 23-Aug 8, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have decided to provide support for our athletes in 2020-2021 by implementing the ‘ISL Solidarity Program’ during which the ISL will organize a radical swimming event unprecedented in swimming history,” the ISL said in a statement. “Each athlete that has signed or will sign a contract with an ISL Club will receive an equal amount of money per month, starting 1st September 2020 until 1st July 2021.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020