It was something that was already in the offing after COVID-19 breached two franchise bio-bubbles and became absolutely necessary after Tuesday’s developments.
After reports of SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha testing positive became public, it is understood that the entire Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise would have to go into quarantine.
That, and the reluctance of a leading franchise to continue any further in the tournament for now have turned out to be the leading catalysts for this development.
UPDATE: The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an… https://t.co/qPlYeEEnVf
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 1620115731000
BCCI sent out a press release confirming the development:
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 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.
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.
SRH were scheduled to play Mumbai Indians in Delhi on Tuesday. With Saha testing positive there was no way this match could have gone ahead anyway.
Speaking to ANI,BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla said the tournament has been suspended for this season.
The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involve… https://t.co/XSUtOViarz
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1620115770000
TOI understands that one franchise in particular took the matter up with the BCCI and said “You can host it after three months, five months, six months. It doesn’t matter. But right now, it needs to stop”.
Broadcasters Star India – who have the biggest stakes in this cricketing extravaganza – too are learnt to be in favour of the tournament being postponed for now.
On Monday night, after players and officials from Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings had tested positive, along with ground staff in Delhi and Chennai, the BCCI was busy finalising shifting the IPL to Mumbai and cancelling Kolkata and Bangalore as venues.
However, Tuesday’s developments have changed the script once again. As TOI reported, along with Saha, there was also news of Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra testing positive, which essentially means that the virus has entered four different franchise bio-bubbles.
With franchises panicking and fear gripping the players and their families who are in a bubble that’s being breached with every passing hour, cricket is the last thing on anybody’s mind.
“And now, the overseas players too want to go home. They’re clear they can’t take this anymore. And it’s understandable why they’re thinking that way,” say those tracking developments.
The BCCI did a commendable job in hosting the 2020 edition of the tournament. The 2021 edition – in comparison – has been a case of mismanagement on multiple fronts. The decision to play the IPL at multiple venues, the idea of taking flights, not quarantining hotel staff etc for mandatory periods as per global health protocols, random booking of hotels which were far away from the venue, a faulty GPS tracking system and poor Covid-medical staff have all contributed – in big and small ways – to this mess.
The BCCI cannot take the tournament outside of India immediately as UAE has put a travel ban on those flying from here. Hosting the tournament in India won’t be a possibility until the monsoons end. However, with a lot of bilateral cricket and the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled post India’s tour of England, it’s a wait and watch policy now over how the BCCI will squeeze in its favourite property.
For now, the IPL is going to stop. And that’s the best the BCCI can do at the moment, given what’s happening across the country.