IPL 2021 Postponed: Having hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 was postponed indefinitely on Tuesday. Two days later, there continue to be further reports of some players reaching home, while there are some reports of some, like Virat Kohli, also joining the Covid-19 fight.
The tournament began on April 9 and ran smoothly for 29 matches. On Monday, Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L Balaji along with Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy had returned positive results. Hyderabad’s wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha tested positive for COVID-19 along with Delhi Capitals’ veteran spinner Amit Mishra on Tuesday. On Wednesday, some players began to reach home even as some overseas players continued to stay in the country.
With speculation that the remainder of IPL 2021 could be held in England, an ECB spokesperson was quoted by The Guardian: “We speak to the BCCI regularly about tours and other matters and we’ll continue doing so, but we have received no indication that they are looking for alternative hosts for the IPL at the moment.”
Mumbai Indians have announced how they plan to provide safe passage to their entire contingent via chartered flights. In a series of tweets on Thursday evening, the five-time IPL winners revealed that:
#Australian players and support staff members will fly to Maldives on a special charter. MI has made arrangements for their 14 days quarantine stay in Maldives before flying them back to Australia.
#Mumbai & Ahmedabad based players and support staff members will return home via Ahmedabad on a charter flight. The Cabin crew has completed 7 days quarantine at the team hotel in Delhi.
#Head Coach Mahela Jayawardene will also complete his quarantine in Maldives before returning to Sri Lanka.
#Players and support staff from New Zealand, South Africa and the Caribbean will fly to Auckland, Johannesburg and Trinidad on their respective charter flights arranged by MI.
Travel update on MI players, support staff and management: pic.twitter.com/fw0awJO2K4
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 6, 2021
DC’s Shikhar Dhawan and RCB’s Harshal Patel are the current holders of the Orange and Purple Caps.
— Express Sports (@IExpressSports) May 6, 2021
A player, who did not wish to be named, said that it wasn’t as secure as it was in the UAE, where not a single case cropped up during tournament-proper even though there were some who tested positive before it got rolling. “Though teams and BCCI tried their best, the bubble was much tighter in the UAE. Here you could see people coming and going even though they were on different floors. I saw some use the pool also. Then practice facilities were also far away,” he said.
IPL 2021 players speak on the bio-bubble this year and how the dynamics changed after cases came to light inside it:
READ | Inside IPL’s bubble
VVS Laxman, who is serving as mentor at Sunrisers Hyderabad, said the franchise is still wondering how Wriddhiman Saha got infected by Covid-19 “despite taking all precautions”. “Wriddhi was slated to play Sunday’s match against Rajasthan Royals but felt a little under the weather on Saturday night. We immediately placed him in isolation and, despite our prayers, he returned a positive test. We are still wondering how, despite taking all precautions, Wriddhi got infected,” Laxman wrote in his TOI column on Thursday.
Bangladesh cricketers Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman have reportedly left for Dhaka after a chartered flight was arranged for their departure on Thursday morning. They left from Delhi after Shakib joined his countrymate from Ahmedabad where he was with his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. Mustafizur was in the national capital for the Delhi-leg of Rajasthan Royals’ season. Bangladesh have banned flights from India and BCCI was in talks with the High Commission to ease their path back to Bangladesh.
“Both the players travelled together on Thursday afternoon and we ensured that things were all fine,” The Hindu quoted a franchise source as saying.
Four members of New Zealand’s Test contingent involved in the now-suspended IPL, including captain Kane Williamson, will leave India for the United Kingdom on May 11 while the rest will make their way back home on Friday, the country’s cricket board has announced.
New Zealand are scheduled to play hosts England in a two-match Test series, beginning on June 2, before facing India in the World Test Championships final at Southampton from June 18.
In an interview with The Indian Express, BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly spoke about the thought process behind organising it at home, why the Board chose six cities as venues, and that Indian domestic players will be compensated irrespective of the fate of the 2021 IPL season.
The Indian Premier League’s Australian cohort has been transported to the Maldives after the tournament’s abrupt suspension over the coronavirus crisis in India.
In a joint statement, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association confirmed their players, coaching staff and match officials were safely transported to the Maldives. “We can confirm that Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators have been safely transported from India and are en route to the Maldives,” the statement read.
Official Update | We can confirm that Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators have been safely transported from India and are en route to the Maldives. pic.twitter.com/mZQT2RlvBv
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) May 6, 2021
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has informed his Chennai Super Kings (CSK) teammates that he will be the last person to board the flight back home. Dhoni has said that he will wait for the foreigners to leave first and the other Indian players next before he goes home from Delhi, where the team is based.
“Mahibhai said that he will be the last person to leave the hotel. He wanted foreigners to leave first, then the Indian players. He will be taking the last flight tomorrow when everyone reaches their home safe and secure,” a member of CSK told The Indian Express.
In a virtual meeting with his teammates, @msdhoni said that since the IPL is happening in India, the foreign players and support staff should get the preference to travel first to reach their homes abroad.
— Express Sports (@IExpressSports) May 6, 2021
Punjab Kings’ pacer Mohammed Shami has posted a picture of him heading back to his home. Shami tweeted a picture of himself in protective gear travelling back to his home from Punjab Kings’ camp.
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) May 6, 2021
has started working to help provide relief to those affected by COVID-19. Rahul N Kanal, a member of Yuva Sena, the Shiv Sena’s youth wing, shared pictures along with Virat Kohli.
— Rahul.N.Kanal (@Iamrahulkanal) May 5, 2021
Former England captain Mike Atherton doesn’t see a window this year to complete the suspended Indian Premier League. The world’s biggest T20 league was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday after multiple COVID-19 cases were detected in the tournament’s bio-bubble.
“Just don’t see where the gap (in the schedule) is. India come to England for five Test matches in the summer — and that ends around mid-September. Then the T20 World Cup (in October-November), which is supposed to be in India – but who knows, they may have to move that tournament to the UAE,” Atherton told Sky Sports
“It’s obviously quite upsetting that we have to end it, but unfortunately these things happen. There’s a lot of people going through a lot at the moment, and that is probably the safest thing to do. Let everyone at home or in India focus on beating COVID because that’s the most important thing,” said Morris
New Zealand cricketers involved in the now suspended IPL, including captain Kane Williamson, are likely to remain in India at least till May 10 before flying to England for national duty, their players’ union chief said on Wednesday. The remaining players as well as the support staff in various IPL teams and commentators could return home by charter flights arrange by the franchises, New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association head Heath Mills said. Mills is expecting a revision in the travel restrictions for incoming travellers from India by the British government.
Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Todd Greenberg has asked its players to do their “homework” and consider the risks involved before signing overseas T20 deals in the near future as the world grapples with an evolving pandemic. With their country shut for all those flying from India, the suspended IPL’s 40-strong Australian contingent, comprising players, support staff and commentators, will be flown to Maldives before getting a connecting flight for home.
Chennai Super Kings batting coach Michael Hussey will stay back in India to recover from Covid-19 as the Australian players, commentators and support staff are set to fly back (via either the Maldives or Sri Lanka). Hussey returned a second positive test on Tuesday and is now forced to serve a 10 days’ isolation at the team hotel in Delhi.
Australian Cricketers’ Association Chief Executive Todd Greenberg provided an update on Hussey’s medical situation.
“His (Hussey’s) symptoms are relatively mild, so he’s in for a stint of isolation in his hotel for at least 10 days, but his team have got some really good support systems around him, which is good,” Greenberg was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Ravindra Jadeja has meanwhile reached the safety of his stables.
— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) May 5, 2021
Michael Slater, tweeting angrily from Maldives, said to the Australian Prime Minister earlier today to “take your private jet and come and witness dead bodies on the street!” Now he says he wants a debate with the PM.
I challenge you to a debate anytime PM.
— Michael Slater (@mj_slats) May 5, 2021