After the 2021 Indian Premier League was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday, Board of Control for Cricket in India Vice President Rajeev Shukla insisted that the tournament is not cancelled.
The BCCI and IPL Governing Council made the decision to call off the event for now in an emergency meeting after more positive cases for Covid-19 were reported on Tuesday in the bio-secure bubbles, unanimously deciding to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.
“One thing I want to make very clear – it has not been cancelled. It has been postponed, suspended and deferred. The remaining part of this IPL will happen. In due course, when the Covid situation improves, a decision will be taken about it,” Shukla told broadcasters Star Sports.
Shukla also clarified that the reports suggesting the suspension is only for five days or a week are not true. “There are speculations that after five days or a week the tournamnent will resume, that’s not possible,” he added.
Shukla reiterated that it was BCCI’s the duty to offer a safe passage back home for the participants of IPL 2021 and understood that some of them were apprehensive about the situation in India.
“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 wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind,” the statement from the league had said.
“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,” the statement mentioned.
The suspension of the tournament, which followed growing controversy over the competition, comes a day after two Kolkata Knight Riders players – Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier – tested positive, forcing a match to be postponed on Monday in Ahmedabad.
The Chennai Super Kings added in a statement on Tuesday that its bowling coach L Balaji and a member of the side’s travel support staff tested positive after undergoing tests in India’s capital New Delhi on Sunday.
Shukla told AFP that the governing body would “make the arrangements” for the IPL’s international players to leave India.
“About the foreign players, as we have said, we will try and ensure all of them get to their homes,” he said.
Cricket Australia said in a statement that it was in touch with the BCCI to “ensure the safe accommodation and repatriation of Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators back home”.
The 52-day 60-match tournament would have concluded in Ahmedabad on May 30. However, only 24 days of cricket was possible with 29 completed games before the virus halted proceedings.
According to Cricbuzz, an official said that the board could look at the September window after England’s tour of India is complete and before the T20 World Cup scheduled in India for October-November.
India on Tuesday registered 3,57,229 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 2,02,82,833 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. This is the third consecutive day when the daily infection count dropped after crossing the 4-lakh mark.