IPL suspended indefinitely amid India’s Covid crisis

The 2021 Indian Premier League season has been suspended indefinitely amid the country’s mounting Covid crisis, it has been confirmed.

The tournament could now be cancelled altogether with cases sharply rising in the country while the Board of Control for Cricket in India could consider shifting the 31 remaining matches of the league to a single venue, Mumbai, as a contingency option.

Monday’s match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad had to be postponed after two players tested positive for Covid-19.

Three non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings franchise also contracted the virus in Delhi with reports of further outbreaks within other teams.

An IPL statement on Tuesday read: “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 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.”

India’s tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, following 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, as the country battles a devastating second wave.

The England and Wales Cricket Board are monitoring the situation with 11 English players currently part of the tournament.

The contingent is led by limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan with Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Tom and Sam Curran also involved.

Australian players Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson recently flew home. Richardson and Zampa were playing for Bangalore, and Tye was with the Rajasthan Royals.

Two other players — Englishman Liam Livingstone, who was with Rajasthan, and Ravichandran Ashwin, who was with Delhi — have also left the IPL.

Livingstone cited “bubble fatigue” and Ashwin wanted to be with his family.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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