IPL suspended amid India’s Covid crisis with tournament set to move to Mumbai

Members of three franchises have tested positive for Covid-19 (Picture: Getty Images)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India have suspended the IPL season following several positive Covid-19 cases from multiple teams as the country’s coronavirus crisis worsens.

The suspension of the season – which is rather optimistically hoped to only last one week – was confirmed by IPL chairman Brijesh Patel on Tuesday, who said the decision had to be taken for the safety of all stakeholders.

A 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.

The tournament was being played amid a national public health emergency (Picture: Getty)

‘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 number of new coronavirus infections in India has now passed 20 million, with 357,229 new cases in the last 24 hours, and there had been growing calls for the IPL to be suspended with the health system on the brink of collapse.

Monday’s match between Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challenges Bangalore in Ahmedabad had to be rescheduled after Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier both tested positive for Covid-19.

A day later, Amit Mishra and Wriddhiman Saha also tested positive, while two members of the Chennai Super Kings’ staff have also had positive tests meaning at least three franchises have had their biosecure bubbles compromised.

Jos Buttler is one of 11 England players currently playing in the IPL (Picture: Getty)

The suspension is hoped to only be short term, with the BCCI having already been working on moving the entire IPL machinery to Mumbai to finish the tournament, though it is far from certain that this will happen and no official word has been given on when the competition could resume.

The Board were hoping to have hotels and stadiums in Mumbai sanitised and secure by May 7, but the logistics of moving the IPL – currently based out of Delhi and Ahmedabad – are enormous.

The teams were scheduled to fly to Kolkata and Bangalore for the final leg of the tournament, before shifting to Ahmedabad again for the knockouts and final, but all franchises refused given the Covid situation.

India’s public health system is at breaking point as cases surge (Picture: SIPA USA)

Teams based in Delhi were particularly keen for the IPL season to be suspended given the rising numbers in the capital, which logged close to 20,000 new cases yesterday.

Unlike the rest of the country, the Mumbai region actually had a drop in new Covid cases on Monday – down to 2,662 – which is why it has been selected as the location to finish the IPL season.

A number of players have already left the IPL due to the coronavirus situation in India, with Australians Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson the most recent high-profile players to fly home, while Ravi Ashwin took a break to be with his family.

There are 11 England players currently playing in the IPL, with ODI skipper Eoin Morgan chief among them, while the likes of Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow may now be looking to leave India.


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