The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the richest domestic T20 tournament in the world and the biggest cash cow for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The BCCI has continued with the 2021 IPL even though India is suffering on all sides as over 400,000 COVID-19 positive cases show up and over 3,000 COVID deaths take place daily.
There have been multiple calls for the BCCI to shut down the IPL for the last two weeks but the IPL juggernaut continued to roll on with the BCCI defending the calls to close the IPL saying that they had created a safe and secure IPL bubble across 6 cities and that players and support staff were safe.
However, multiple players tested positive this week and the BCCI was forced to suspend the 2021 IPL with immediate effect.
Multiple Individuals Test Positive
The BCCI was forced to make the decision after news broke this week that multiple players and support staff had tested positive for COVID-19. Some of the players that tested positive include Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakaravarthy from the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Three support staff from the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise have also tested positive. Reports show that CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan and bowling coach L Balaji are among those that have tested positive for CSK. All of these 5 individuals have been isolated and so far the BCCI claims no other players or staff have tested positive.
The BCCI decided to cancel the game between KKR and the Royal Challengers Bangalore on 03 May due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. CSK then approached the BCCI on May 04 and declined to play against the Rajasthan Royals on May 5 as they wanted all their players to be tested before taking the field.
BCCI Releases Statement
The fact that 5 individuals in the IPL bubble have tested positive made it clear that the IPL bubble was no longer secure and the best decision was to suspend the tournament.
An official statement said
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. 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