Dark Covid cloud looms over IPL 2021

Dark Covid cloud looms over IPL 2021
MUMBAI, Apr 7 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 4/7/2021 1:20:19 PM IST

With the country reeling under a second wave and a spate of cases hitting hosting centres, the board’s decision to stage a closed-door event in India is under the scanner

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) and its multiple Indian Premier League (IPL) stakeholders are facing an enormous challenge right now. The league’s 14th edition hasn’t even begun yet and the fraternity is sweating because of the rising number of Covid cases in the country.

From cricketers to franchise officials, groundsmen, associated staff and consultants, the numbers are adding up by the day across venues, TOI reported. The primary line of conversation right now is: the league is going to begin in two days but given the overall situation, will it continue as scheduled or get shelved?

There’s no way of knowing yet. Defending champions Mumbai Indians will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday and the stakes, as usual, are extremely high.

Chennai reported 3645 new cases and 15 deaths on Tuesday, with the number of active cases touching 25,000. Those tracking developments say, “expect these numbers to rise once polling ends”. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) is not letting its guard down, with Chepauk playing host to three teams in the first leg: Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, and KKR.

Some other venues, Delhi for instance, has already begun taking precautions, even though they begin hosting their share of seven IPL matches only from April 28. The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has decided to shut the stadium from April 10, keep the ground staff inside a bubble, stop employees from using public transport. It has already finished its first round of vaccination for staff.

Mumbai, meanwhile, is once again the epicentre of Covid-19’s fury. As much as the BCCI deserves a pat on the back for pulling off the 2020 edition of the IPL by shifting it to the UAE, it has faltered on several fronts this season. On Tuesday, when reports of former India wicketkeeper Kiran More, a Mumbai Indians’ scout and wicketkeeping consultant, testing positive became public, the league was busy debating this one development more than anything else.

“If this can happen to the Mumbai Indians’ camp, then nothing is safe anywhere else. They are always doubly prepared in circumstances like these. Their bio-bubble began on March 1 in Mumbai and ever since, they have been travelling inside it. Like they did in the UAE, they once again booked the entire wing of a five-star resort in Chennai this season too. 

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