Unfortunately, the second wave of Covid-19 has taken IPL 2021 in its grip as well as the ongoing edition has now been suspended with immediate effect, on Tuesday. Following numerous cases being reported across different franchises, the BCCI vice-president, Rajeev Shukla confirmed the news to ANI, saying that the 14the edition has been postponed to a later date. "IPL suspended for this season," he said as quoted by ANI.
The threat began on Monday when two KKR players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive. As a result of which, the RCB vs KKR match, which was scheduled to take place on Monday got postponed to a later date. On the same day, another bad news came out from a different franchise. Three members of the CSK contingent, namely Laxmipathy Balaji (the bowling coach), Kasi Viswanathan (CEO) and the bus driver got tested positive for the deadly virus.
During this period, numerous reports emerged saying that BCCI had decided to conduct all the remaining matches in Mumbai. However, they weren’t aware at that time that the virus would make its presence felt in two more camps.
Ahead of the 31st match between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, Wriddhiman Saha of SRH and Amit Mishra of DC also tested positive. The BCCI had no chance but to call off the tournament with immediate effect.
What about the Overseas Players?
Amidst the current surge in the rising covid-19 cases in India, a lot of nations have banned all international flights coming from India. The Australian Government has shut its border and aren’t allowing anyone coming from India until May 15. Also, UAE, which is a transit point for most flights, has stopped entertaining flights from India. Amidst all this, it remains to be seen how BCCI send all the international players safely to their respective countries. However, BCCI confirms all the IPL 2021 players and staff will return to their families and loved ones in India and abroad.
On Monday, former Australia cricketer and commentator Michael Slater launched into Prime Minister Scott Morrison, slamming his government over the travel ban. "If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It's a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out the quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect," Slater said in a social media post.
Is there any window for the resumption of IPL?
From June till the mid of September, India’s international cricket calendar is jam-packed. They will travel to Sri Lanka, England, and Zimbabwe. India will be returning home in September and will take a short break before hosting New Zealand to prepare themselves for the T20 World Cup.
BCCI could consider the tournament to conduct in September. With that, they will get enough time to prepare themselves in conducting the tournament successfully. Nevertheless, it would take a toll on the players’ workload if it does happen.
What about the T20 World Cup?
The ICC 2021 T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in India in the October-November window. However, India could no longer be the preferred nation to host the perennial tournament. With the postponement of the IPL, the ICC T20 2021 World Cup too could potentially shift from India to UAE, due to the massive rise in the cases of Covid-19.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, BCCI officials have had a discussion with the top members of the central Government over conducting the T20 World Cup. Perhaps, a shift in the venue from India to UAE is what they all have agreed upon.
"The suspension of IPL within four weeks is an indicator that it's not really safe to host a global event of that magnitude at a time when the country is fighting its worst health crisis in last 70 years," a senior BCCI source privy to the development said on conditions of anonymity.
"There is a chance of a third wave hitting the Indian shores in November. So while BCCI will remain the hosts, the tournament will probably shift to the UAE," he added.