IPL 2021 on May 4 was indefinitely suspended by BCCI due to the Covid-19 crisis in India and numerous positive tests within various franchises. The series of events leading up the point of suspension began with match 30 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore being postponed after two KKR players, Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakaravarthy, tested positive. Soon after, three Chennai Super Kings franchise members also tested positive, including L. Balaji.
The final nail in the coffin proved to be Wriddhiman Saha (of Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Amit Mishra (of Delhi Capitals) testing positive for coronavirus.
Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder Vijay Shankar, while speaking to indiatoday.in, revealed that while the players were worried, they did not panic as the news of positive Covid-19 cases among the stakeholders broke.
“More than panic, it was just about being worried. A couple of guys tested positive, when someone tested positive in our team, it became a bit more,” Shankar said.
“Otherwise, we knew even the day they suspended the IPL, we were supposed to play a game. We were trying to prepare and keep ourselves motivated till we got the message, saying the IPL was suspended,” he added.
Shankar conceded that SRH players remained positive as a unit and said that IPL 2021 proved to be a great distraction for people. He added that even though it was only for a couple of hours throughout the day, the tournament proved to be a huge source of motivation for players and support staff.
“First year, last time, when we faced this, it was a bit difficult. Bio-bubble life is a bit difficult but if you ask me as a professional, it’s important for us to adapt to it and follow the protocols. As a team, you need to be together. Only then you can spend those 1 and half two months together. Otherwise, it will be difficult for every individual,” he added.
“At the end of the day, we want to play cricket and entertain the people. In this situation, there were a lot of people who were looking up to the IPL every evening to sit and watch and forget about every other thing. A tournament like this was helping take the viewers’ mind off Covid. It definitely was (a source of motivation), we were trying to give our best,” he added.
The question whether the tournament will be completed later on in the year continues to remain unanswered as of now.