Kolkata: It ultimately took a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases among players – not to mention senior officials and support staff – for the Indian Cricket Council to finally suspend the 2021 IPL for the season. Better late than never – this is the one cliché that can sum up the rushed decision, although one cannot help but feel that the Cricket Control Council of India (BCCI) had invoked such a situation on itself.
This is the first opportunity in its 14-year journey that an IPL has to be suspended halfway – and it is a blow to the reputation of the Indian board of directors for delivering this prestigious product against all odds. The official statement from them does not promise to seek an alternative window during the year in these uncertain times – as a clear picture will emerge in the coming months of where she will leave India as that host the T20 World Cup in October-November.
Is there anything the Indian council could have done differently to save the tournament? It should be mentioned here that as a result of their collaboration with the UAE to host the previous edition in September-November of last year without major incident, the IPL Board of Directors had kept the Emirates Arab Emirates as Plan B and was also in contact with them even until January-February of this year.
However, the smooth organization of a full series against England in February-March in internally created Bio Bubbles – coupled with the pandemic situation in India which was very much under control at the end of 2020 – has emboldened the powers that be. place to host the IPL in India and send a signal to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it would be ready to host the World T20 later this year.
There was, however, a significant difference between touring England and an IPL. While the first was a bilateral series limited to three locations, the IPL considered dealing with around 200 players alone – not to mention hundreds of support staff, TV crews, officials and six cities. The decision to expand the league to six cities, contrary to the original idea of limiting it to Mumbai (the only city that had three international stadiums and could have hosted all matches on notice) was taken as a rehearsal for the preparation. of the world. T20 – and has proven to be counterproductive for the time being.
“ These are tough times especially in India and although we have tried to bring some positivity and joy it is imperative that the tournament is now put on hold and everyone returns to their family and loved ones. in these difficult times. ” ‘said the BCCI in its press release.
However, the postponement is only half of the work done as the council must now mobilize all of its influence and resources to ensure a safe passage for cricketers, television pundits and overseas officials – to a time when flights from India are banned to countries. such as UK, Australia and UAE transit point.
Looking back, a lot of ifs and buts are going to show up now and we can hope the event will come back stronger next year!