The IPL 2021 season finds itself in a spot of bother at the moment, with the second wave of COVID-19 wreaking havoc across India. Several international players, including Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, and Josh Richardson have voiced their concerns and have pulled out of the tournament.
As debates rage over the need to organize the IPL during such a tumultuous period, BCCI supremo Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that the tournament will go ahead as per schedule despite the recent backlash and the player departures.
“So far, it’s going ahead as per schedule,” Sourav Ganguly confirmed.
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin recently announced that he’d be taking a break from the IPL to be with his family in times of such crisis. Australian players Tye, Zampa, and Richardson recently flew home amidst the fear of being "locked out" of their home countries.
England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia maintain their stance on not calling the players back. However, they have repeatedly made it clear that they will facilitate the return of players from the IPL if they do, in fact, decide to fly back home.
A joint statement from Cricket Australia and Australian Cricketers’ Association read:
“Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association remain in regular contact with Australian players, coaches and commentators taking part in the Indian Premier League, which is being conducted under strict bio-security protocols.
"We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian Government. Our thoughts are with the people of India at this difficult time," the statement finished.
Several franchise officials and management personnel have also made it clear that they will offer their unprecedented support to players who decide to pull out of IPL 2021 in these dire straits.
"As of now, there is no communication in calling off the tournament, so we are planning everything to keep players motivated and safe. If any player wants to pull out due to family/personal reasons, we will do everything possible to help him," a franchise official said.
GCA official says they are following all protocols as IPL moves to Ahmedabad
Meanwhile, Gujarat Cricket Association will not be taking things lightly as cases continue to climb in the state. Following the Mumbai and Chennai leg of the tournament, the IPL is now being hosted in Delhi and Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad will also be the venue for the playoffs and the IPL 2021 Final.
"We are strictly following all government and BCCI protocols. We have made it clear that only the GCA office bearers and the three former cricketers - who are in charge of the practice facilities - will be allowed to enter the stadium, following all protocols," Gujarat Cricket Association secretary Anil Patel said.
"The groundstaff and other relevant staff have been inside the bubble for the last seven to ten days inside the stadium and they are being tested every alternate day to ensure that everything runs smoothly," he added.
Anil Patel concluded by adding that even the GCA officials and those that are in charge of the practice facilities where players will be training will also undergo RT-PCR Tests on alternate days and only a negative test result will allow them to the stadium.