The Kolkata Knight Riders-Royal Challengers Bangalore contest, scheduled to be played on Monday in Ahmedabad, had to be postponed after two players of the KKR camp tested positive. Later, reports emerged of COVID positive cases in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) contingent as well, although no players were among the affected ones.
As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, BCCI wants to minimize all risks in the wake of Monday’s COVID-related developments and is hence planning to shift the tournament to Mumbai. According to the report, the BCCI could make the shift as early as this weekend.
The report further stated that the BCCI has been checking with big hotels in Mumbai to explore the feasibility of creating a bio-bubble with all necessary SOPs at such short notice.
Mumbai has three cricket stadiums that can host IPL 2021 matches - Wankhede, DY Patil and Brabourne. While the Wankhede Stadium hosted ten matches during the first half of IPL 2021, the other two venues were used for training purposes.
Shifting the tournament entirely to Mumbai would mean rejigging the complete IPL 2021 schedule, which could lead to multiple double-headers.
Also, the IPL 2021 final, which is currently scheduled for May 30, could be pushed to the start of June.
India, though, are scheduled to play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton from June 18-22, a game that is already under a cloud, as the UK has blocked travel from India. An extended IPL 2021 could put the WTC final in further jeopardy.
Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai were the six venues originally finalised for IPL 2021. Chennai and Mumbai hosted the first leg of the tournament, while recent matches were played in Ahmedabad and Delhi.
According to official numbers released earlier on Monday, Mumbai registered 2,624 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, the lowest one-day spike in the last five weeks.
How COVID-19 rocked IPL 2021 on Monday
For IPL 2021 fans, Monday morning began with the news of two KKR players testing COVID-19 positive. The names of the players were later revealed to be Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier.
Later in the day, it emerged that three members from the CSK camp had tested positive for COVID-19 as well. However, none of them were players. CSK chief executive officer Kasi Viswanathan, bowling coach L Balaji and a bus cleaner are the three who have tested positive for COVID-19.
In the evening, it was reported that the BCCI had asked all players and support staff of Delhi Capitals to isolate themselves. It is understood that the instructions came as a precaution after the two KKR players tested positive for COVID-19 earlier on Monday.
DC faced KKR in IPL 2021 on April 29 in Ahmedabad.