The Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament has been indefinitely suspended following the COVID-19 crisis in the country, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel says.
- The IPL chairman said he could not say when the tournament would be rescheduled
- India’s coronavirus tally hit 20 million cases earlier today
- The Board of Control for Cricket in India will “do everything in its powers” to arrange the “safe passage of all the participants”
The decision was made after an emergency meeting with the Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“The tournament stands suspended, we are looking for another window,” Mr Patel said.
The IPL said in a statement: “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.”
Cricket Australia ‘will not seek travel exemptions’
The suspension could cause travel problems for players, with countries including Australia and Britain temporarily barring travellers from India.
Anyone breaching the travel ban between India and Australia faces up to five years in jail or heavy fines.
Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) said CA was liaising with BCCI as they work through accommodation and repatriation plans.
“CA and the ACA respect the decision of the Australian government to pause travel from India until at least May 15 and will not seek exemptions,” the statement added.
IPL went ahead on the basis that teams stay in biosecure areas at hotels and resorts in the six venues in India where the competition is taking place.
Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins and his Kolkata Knight Riders teammates had already been isolating after two cases were reported amongst the squad inside the IPL’s biosecure bubble yesterday.
Two non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings franchise also contracted the virus in Delhi and a Sunrisers Hyderabad player also returned a positive test.
The IPL has been staging games without spectators every evening since April 9 despite India’s stretched health system being pushed to the brink by another major wave of the pandemic.
India’s tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, following 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours.
Players from all over the world compete in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament, which was forced by the pandemic to be held in the United Arab Emirates last year.
Last week, Australian players Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson flew home from the IPL amid the surge of cases.
Richardson and Zampa were playing for Bangalore, and Tye for Rajasthan Royals.
Two other cricketers — Englishman Liam Livingstone, who was with Rajasthan, and Ravichandran Ashwin, who was with Delhi — also left the IPL. Livingstone cited “bubble fatigue” and Ashwin said he wanted to be with his family in the crisis.
The postponement of the IPL throws into the doubt the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) T20 World Cup set to be staged in India in October and November. The UAE has already been suggested as an alternative host.
The ICC had to cancel the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia because of the pandemic.
Rather than push the schedule back by 12 months, cricket’s international governing body decided to stage the 2021 edition in India and return to Australia for the 2022 tournament.