Despite growing calls for suspension of the cash-rich tourney in this distressing time, BCCI went ahead with the games. Now, after many players and support staff tested Covid +, they had no choice but to call off IPL 2021, indefinitely.
The IPL Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held an emergency meeting and decided unanimously to postpone the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling coach L Balaji and a helper of the team, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals (DC) Amit Mishra have all tested positive. The bio secure bubble was breached! Now, what does the suspension of the IPL mean to various stakeholders?
Oz players in a fix
Earlier, the BCCI had said that it would do everything in its power to arrange for safe transport for all the players to their respective countries. But with countries like Australia banning people coming from India to their country, what’s the way forward for the Australian players who are currently in the IPL?
Cricket expert and author Ayaz Memon says since the BCCI has promised that it would fly the players safely back, the Indian government has to lobby with the Australian government, which is a challenging task.
“BCCI can make all the arrangements for a safe flight, but after the Australian government has put a ban on arrivals from India, I think now the players or the BCCI will have to negotiate with the Australian government for their return,” explains Ayaz.
He has another option to suggest: “Players will have to travel to another country from where travel to Australia is not banned. Complete the quarantine protocols in that country, and fly back to Australia,” he recommends. Or, maybe the franchises can pay for their stay in india till the IPL resumes!
A laughing stock
With IPL being suspended after several players tested positive for COVID-19, sports expert Sunil Yashkalra states says “BCCI has made a laughing stock of the country globally.” He asks why, when virologists and epidemiologists had hinted at a dangerous curve in May, the BCCI had not reacted. He feels the tournament should not have been held in the first place.
Moving venues not an option
Since the IPL was conducted smoothly in a bio-secure bubble last year, one view is that the tournament can be shifted to UAE even now. However, a BCCI official comments that it is not possible to shift the tournament to UAE mid-way.
“Recreating such a bio secure bubble is not possible, given the time constraints and COVID-19 protocols,” says the official who did not want to be named.
In fact, questions have been raised as to why the tournament was not scheduled in UAE instead of India in the first place.
“With COVID-19 flattened and things slowly improving in India, we had an excellent England series. We thought IPL would follow suit, but unfortunately things have been deteriorating, and have gone bad,” he says, adding that what this effectively means is that they have put the forthcoming T-20 World Cup to be held in India, in jeopardy too.
Warne removal, needless
The Sunrises Hyderabad (SRH) recently removed David Warner from captaincy after the team lost six of its seven matches. Worse, he was humiliated further by being left out from the playing eleven. Former cricketer Murali Karthik described the Australian cricketer’s omission as ‘absurd’ while answering a question on Twitter.
“Replacing him was downright shocking. Reason given: He doesn’t fit into the Team combination! Seriously, suddenly, your best player, one of IPL’s best suddenly doesn't fit into your team after having played so many years & 2days ago,” said Karthik. And now, with the tournament postponed, there are no matches!
Fans of losing teams, happy
Surely, fans and even the franchise owners of all the teams that were languishing at the bottom half of the table, must be relieved. No more tense moments — as now there are no winners or losers!
RCB, DC, unlucky
Both these teams were doing very well, were on top of the points table and in all probability could have been in the finals. And both teams are yet to win an IPL final.