IPL 2021 suspended after COVID breaches T20 league’s bio-bubble, ‘difficult times,’ says BCCI

Multiple players, support and ground staff have tested COVID positive inside the IPL bio-bubble at various centres over the past couple of days.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by BCCI

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has been suspended indefinitely effective Tuesday after several players participating in the T20 cricket tournament tested positive for COVID-19.

Though India has been reeling under an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections of late, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had earlier opted to continue hosting the IPL, which began last month.

The teams, players and necessary personnel were kept in a bio-bubble to keep them safe from the second wave wreaking havoc across the country. A total of 29 of the 56 IPL 2021 league stage matches have already been played.

Things, however, took a dire turn over the past few days with multiple players, support staff and groundsmen from various teams testing positive inside the bubble forcing the league to be suspended.

“The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL,” a statement from BCCI said. “This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.”

The Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore clash scheduled at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday was the first IPL match which was postponed after KKR players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for the coronavirus. Several others were also unwell.

Several players from different IPL teams have tested COVID positive.
Picture by BCCI

Doubts were cast over the Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals match on Wednesday too as CSK players were forced into hard quarantine after the team’s bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji tested COVID positive.

The outbreak in the IPL bubble only continued to worsen with Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra joining the infected players’ list.

“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 release added.

The BCCI also promised to do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021. There are several foreign players in the IPL bio-bubble as well.

The BCCI has not given any time frame for when the tournament will resume.

Daily infection rates in India crossed the 300,000 per day mark on April 24 and has been steadily on the rise. The shortage of oxygen and hospital beds in the country to manage the rising active cases has further added to the gravity of the situation.

Several non-cricketing athletes too have been struck by COVID in the ongoing wave. Former Olympian and World Cup gold medallist archer Jayanta Talukdar was recently admitted to ICU after testing positive.

Earlier, Tokyo-bound athletes Simranjit Kaur, Priyanka Goswami and Avinash Sable along with six members of the Indian women’s hockey team also tested positive.