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IPL 2021 postponed – how the events unfolded

The IPL 2021 stands postponed after it was discovered that a third team – and possibly a fourth – had at least one positive case. The BCCI decided it was in the best interest of all stakeholders to get everyone home and safe. Follow our Live Blog for all the updates, reactions and analysis. Please keep refreshing for latest updates.


Statement from ECB

“Following this morning’s postponement of the Indian Premier League, we are in close contact with our players and staff in India as arrangements are put in place for them to return home safely.

“The ECB understands the BCCI’s decision to postpone the competition for the safety and wellbeing of those involved, and thanks the BCCI for its commitment to do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all those taking part in the competition.

“Our thoughts remain with the people of India during these challenging times.”


Statement from CSA

“Cricket South Africa (CSA) has noted the postponement of the 2021 season of Indian Premier League (IPL) due to COVID-19 safety reasons.

“CSA supports the decision to put the health and safety interests of all involved in the tournament first and foremost and has made contact with all of the relevant franchises to ensure the expedited travel of all South African players and support staff back to our shores.

“Those travelling back to South Africa will undergo home quarantine in line with the current World Health Organization recommendations.

“CSA and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) are in contact with all players and are assured of their safety and comfort in their respective locations.

CSA wishes to extend its well wishes and support to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the people of India and thank the BCCI for keeping our players safe during this challenging time.”


Aussies to wait in Maldives

Coming from Dan Brettig:

A mass exodus of Australian players, coaches and support staff to the Maldives is the expected remedy to a dilemma created by the postponement of the 2021 IPL and the current closure of the national border to citizens in India during its rampant Covid-19 outbreak.

The likes of Pat Cummins, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich and company are expected to join the commentator Michael Slater, who had already headed to the Maldives as a temporary post in the wake of blanket bans on entry to Australian citizens who have recently been in India, a state of play that will exist until at least May 15.


Cricket Australia and ACA Joint Statement

“Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association understand the decision of the BCCI to indefinitely postpone the 2021 Indian Premier League for the safety and wellbeing of all participants.

“CA is in direct contact with the BCCI as they work through plans to ensure the safe accommodation and repatriation of Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators back home to Australia.

“CA and the ACA respect the decision of the Australian Government to pause travel from India until at least May 15 and will not seek exemptions.

“CA and the ACA thank the BCCI for their efforts and cooperation for the safe repatriation of all participants at the IPL.”

© Getty Images


Where is the window

The inevitable question once everyone has been sent safely home is, when can they finish the IPL? Things won’t improve soon enough anyway so you can rule out a completion before India’s tour of England. India’s stars are free in July – between the WTC final and the Tests in England – but it might just not be possible to figure everything out and move it out of India and finish it in time for the commitments in England.

India return in September and they are hosting New Zealand before the T20 World Cup in November. So September might be a possible window and might give the BCCI enough time to sort out logistics and venues etc.

© ESPNcricinfo Ltd


The next big question

What becomes of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in India later this year, now? One of the lessons from this IPL even after making an allowance for the dramatic surge in cases as compared to during the Test series is that it is a different ball game to organise a multi-team event with multiple venues and air travel involved. It is no surprises cases emerged inside the strict IPL bubbles within days of their travel from Chennai and Mumbai to Delhi and Ahmedabad. This will raise questions on whether it is safe to host the T20 World Cup in India.

The ICC will surely look into it and take the BCCI’s inputs on it. We already know that the UAE is a back-up option in a worst-case scenario.

Members of at least three franchises have tested positive Covid-19 © BCCI/IPL


The BCCI’s biggest immediate challenge

Given the stated aim – and rightly so – is to get every participant to their families and loved ones, the biggest immediate challenge for the BCCI is to get overseas players into their respective countries.

As it stands, most countries in the world have already banned entry for those coming in India or contemplating that. Australia is one of the countries that have done the former. New Zealand is still allowing citizens back in. The UK will require those coming in to quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved hotel and test on days 2 and 8. However, the UAE, a major transit point for most flights, has stopped entertaining flights from India. Air travel from India to Bangladesh stands suspended but the land border is open with the caveat of a 14-day quarantine.

NZC has responded to the situation: “NZC remains in contact with the New Zealand contingent in the Indian Premier League. The players are in a relatively safe environment and those within affected teams are in isolation. We’ll continue to liaise with the BCCI, the ECB and New Zealand government authorities in terms of managing their situation – but at this juncture it’s too early to discuss potential options.”

Mohammad Isam from Bangladesh tells me: “BCB is in touch with the BCCI about the Bangladesh duo’s travel plans. It is not clear whether Shakib and Mustafizur will be doing a 3-day or a 14-day quarantine. It is being considered still because they are coming from India.”


Why we know a resumption is not in sight

These are the operative parts of the BCCI statement.

… it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


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