New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) was suspended indefinitely Tuesday, after multiple COVID-19 cases were reported in its bio-bubble. In the process it ended a month-long relatively smooth run for cricket’s most glamorous and cash-rich event in the middle of a raging pandemic. As of now, there is no surety as to when the Indian Premier League will resume.
“The tournament has been suspended indefinitely. We will try to conduct the event in the next available window but this month is unlikely,” league chairman Brijesh Patel said Tuesday.
The announcement came after Sunrisers Hyderabad’s wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha tested positive for COVID-19. So did Delhi Capitals’ spinner veteran spinner Amit Mishra.
“…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 the IPL any further,” BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said.
Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L Balaji had tested positive Monday. Prior to that Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy had also returned positive results. The spread of infections had led to postponement of two IPL games earlier.
The league organisers also issued a formal statement and said that safety of its players and staff is paramount.
“The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect,” the statement read.
“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 well-being of all the stakeholders in mind,” it added.
The IPL said BCCI will do all it can to ensure that players in the event get back to their homes safely. IPL features stars from England, Australia, and New Zealand among other countries.
“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 IPL stated. “The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021,” the league body said.
The tournament began April 9 and ran smoothly before KKR’s COVID-19 cases caused the initial jitters on Monday. The tournament final was planned for May 30.
Just days before this development, three Australian players had pulled out of the league, citing COVID-19 concerns.