The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely, the organisers confirmed on Tuesday, adding that the focus is now on ensuring all participants return home safely.
The development came after an Indian cricketer in both the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals camps tested positive for Covid-19, according to multiple media reports on Tuesday.
The suspension was then confirmed by IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel.
“The tournament has been suspended indefinitely. We will try to conduct the event in the next available window but this month is unlikely,” Patel told PTI.
Board of Control for Cricket in India said that they will “do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.”
BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla to PTI, “..we will take stock if we can find a suitable window later during the year. It could be September but these are all speculations. As of now we are not conducting it any further.”
Statement from IPL
The Indian Premier League Governing Council and Board of Control for Cricket in India in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.
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.
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 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.
Update: Delhi Capitals confirmed that the player to have tested positive was Amit Mishra
“Delhi Capitals leg spinner Amit Mishra has tested positive for COVID-19. He has been moved to a designated medical care facility, as per BCCI and IPL guidelines. The Delhi Capitals medical team is in constant touch with Mishra, and ensuring his safety and well-being. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
SRH were set to meet Mumbai Indians on Tuesday night in New Delhi before the news of the player testing positive meant a reschedule was likely as the team would have had to undergo quarantine.
But with four different IPL teams reporting positive tests in their camps in the last two days, the league has now been suspended.
Earlier, on Monday, KKR’s match against RCB on Monday was postponed in Ahmedabad by the IPL. Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy had tested positive for Covid-19.
Chennai Super Kings’ game against Rajasthan Royals in Delhi was also set to be rescheduled according to multiple reports after CSK bowling coach L Balaji was confirmed to have tested positive along with a member on the transport staff.
The BCCI had also reportedly considered moving the remainder of the campaign to Mumbai by the upcoming weekend as the current bio-bubbles in Ahmedabad and New Delhi were both affected.
The tournament began on 9 April in Chennai and 29 matches were completed in four cities. While there were cases reported before the tournament began when players were in the process of joining the bio-bubbles, KKR’s Covid-19 cases caused the initial jitters on Monday as those were inside the protected environments.
There was cause of concern in Delhi too as a few groundsmen at the Arun Jaitley Stadium tested positive even though DDCA chief Rohan Jaitley asserted that “none of the groundsmen on duty” were among the infected.
IPL features cricketers from England (11), Australia (14), South Africa (11) and New Zealand (10) among other countries. The event also featured nine West Indians, three Afghans and two players from Bangladesh. Several former foreign players, many from Australia, were also a part of the support staffs and commentary teams.
Just days before this, three Australian players had pulled out of the league, citing Covid-19 concerns and travel restrictions amid a devastating second wave of the global pandemic that has overwhelmed the medical infrastructure of the country. Senior India spinner R Ashwin had taken a break the tournament as well to be with his family in Chennai.
The cricket boards of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa backed the decision and expressed confidence in BCCI’s planning for their players’ safe return. But Australia made it clear that it won’t seek exemption from the travel ban which is in place till May 15 for flights from India.
The 2020 IPL had also been held in a bio-secure bubble in the UAE and at that time, infections were only reported before the start of the tournament.
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.
With PTI inputs