India’s cricket control board last month bet on the continuation of its flagship IPL tournament during the pandemic.
But as COVID-19 cases approached 400,000 per day in India, the tournament’s so-called bio-secure bubble was shattered this week when players and team staff began returning positive tests. for the coronavirus.
The IPL was postponed indefinitely on Tuesday, leaving BCCI and the International Cricket Council to wonder how or if India could host the 16-team T20 World Cup in October and November.
Many of the world’s star players competing in the IPL were scrambling to leave. BCCI has assured players that they will do everything possible to help them get home, but there will be difficulties for some. Australia, for example, has temporarily banned travelers from India. There are 38 Australians who play, work as coaches or commentators in the IPL.
Last year, BCCI organized the IPL in the United Arab Emirates due to the pandemic. But this year India wanted to bring the tournament home, at least in part to use it as a repeat for the World Cup.
To reduce travel, the competition was designed to move teams across two cities in multiple phases. But cracks began to appear in the bio-secure bubble once franchises moved to Ahmedabad and Delhi – two cities experiencing outbreaks of coronavirus cases – after the tournament’s first phase ended in Chennai and Mumbai.
On Monday, two Kolkata Knight Riders players tested positive in Ahmedabad and Game 30 was postponed – the first major delay in the tournament which started on April 9.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Chennai Super Kings bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji and one of his support staff returned positive tests to Delhi and Sunrisers Hyderabad wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha , has also tested positive and has been isolated.
The organizers have decided to suspend the competition indefinitely. The BCCI is adamant that the IPL will resume once the pandemic situation improves, but windows for the tournament are limited.
It remains to be seen whether India attempts to transfer the IPL to the United Arab Emirates. BCCI has already suggested the UAE as an alternate venue for the T20 World Cup if things don’t improve enough for India to host the tournament.
“ One thing I want to make clear is that it (IPL) has not been canceled. It was suspended, it was postponed, it was postponed. So it will happen, ” BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla told official IPL broadcasters. “ The rest of the IPL will take place but in due course. ”
India successfully hosted matches against England during the pandemic in Chennai and Ahmedabad and also shortlisted eight cities to host the T20 World Cup. But coordinating a World Cup with 16 teams will again be a more difficult task.
India has already reported more than 20 million cases of COVID-19 and thousands of people are dying every day.