The BCCI has postponed IPL 2021 indefinitely in the wake of mounting COVID-19 cases in the bio-bubble. Reports are now emerging that the Indian cricket board refused a proposal by the IPL governing council (GC) to shift the tournament to the UAE.
The UAE had successfully conducted the previous edition of the IPL just a few months ago. On Tuesday, the BCCI was forced to temporarily halt IPL 2021 after Wriddhiman Saha (SRH) and Amit Mishra (DC) tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a report in TOI, the IPL governing council had proposed that IPL 2021 be shifted to the UAE, a week before the start of the tournament on April 9. The council, headed by Brijesh Patel, feared that things might go haywire if the second wave of COVID-19 did not subside.
The report further said that at least four IPL franchises backed the proposal to host IPL 2021 in the UAE. A source informed the publication that the UAE was even put on standby a week prior to the start of IPL 2021. The source was quoted as saying:
“UAE was always the first choice of the IPL GC for this year’s tournament. Even a week before the start of IPL, they asked BCCI to move the entire event to the UAE. Emirates Cricket Board was also put on immediate alert, and they were willing to conduct IPL again even if BCCI decided to shift the tournament in such short notice.”
The source further claimed:
"But nobody in the BCCI showed the urgency to take the step. The officials kept waiting for each other to make the first move, and eventually the proposal was shot down.”
A BCCI source informed that the cricket board got a confidence boost after conducting the Test, T20I and ODI series against England at three venues smoothly. The source was quoted as saying:
“The IPL, though, was a far bigger challenge with more teams, personnel and venues at play; but the BCCI felt that it had the infrastructure to pull it off. However, they couldn’t anticipate that the situation would worsen so much in the next 20-odd days from the start of IPL.”
How things went wrong in IPL 2021
Till Sunday, IPL 2021 seemed very much on, as no player had tested positive for COVID-19 after the start of the tournament. There were a few cases that were reported just prior to IPL 2021, but all of them tested negative in subsequent tests.
On Monday, though, the tournament was dealt a major setback when two KKR players, Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, tested positive for COVID-19. Subsequently, the KKR-RCB match scheduled for Monday in Ahmedabad had to be postponed.
Following positive cases of Wriddhiman Saha (SRH) and Amit Mishra (DC) emerging on Tuesday, the BCCI had no option but to suspend the IPL 2021 indefinitely.