BCCI Suspends IPL 2021 Amid Covid Rise; T20 World Cup Likely in UAE

Industry Watch | May 4, 2021 | News


The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Tuesday, 4 May 2021, that the ongoing Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely due to a number of Covid19 cases inside the bio-bubble.

BCCI in its statement said, "The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.

“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.”

“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.”

It further added, “The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times.”

Earlier on Tuesday, 4 May, the Chennai Super Kings announced that its bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji and a member of the travel support staff had tested positive for Covid19 and that the rest of the team had gone into a six-day isolation as per IPL protocol. This meant that the team would not play its match on the same day against Rajasthan Royals and only those who tested negative in tests conducted thrice during isolation would return to the field. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra are other players who tested positive Tuesday.

On Monday, 3 May 2021, Kolkata Knight Riders' Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for coronavirus, leading to the postponement of the team's match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad.

Despite successfully hosting the India-England series with audiences prior to the tournament, the 2021 edition was given a go ahead only without audiences. IPl 2021 began with the first leg of matches in Mumbai and Chennai, followed by the ongoing leg in Delhi and Ahmedabad. The last leg was to be hosted by Bengaluru and Kolkata followed  by the final in Ahmedabad. After almost a month into the tournament, Covid19 has brought the curtains down on the cricket carnival.

Speculation that the BCCI was considering shifting all remaining matches to Mumbai found their way to the media in the morning of 4 May 2021. Those have been put to rest with the official BCCI statement.

T20 World Cup

A senior BCCI official was quoted by BBC’s Stumped podcast last week on the body being in talks with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to shift the upcoming T20 World Cup to the UAE, which had successfully hosted IPL 2020, in a ‘worst case scenario’.  It is highly likely that the 16-nation tournament will now move to UAE.

The 2021 T20 World Cup would be the first multi-team global event staged by the ICC after the World Health Organisation declared Covid19 as a pandemic in 2020. It was originally scheduled to be held in Australia in Oct-Nov 2020, but was postponed by a year and moved to India.

The Indian Premier League was officially suspended on Tuesday, 4 May, after several players and non-playing staff from multiple teams tested positive for Covid19.

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