The suspension of IPL 2021 – a timeline of how events unfolded
From Adam Zampa calling the bio-bubble 'vulnerable' to BCCI suspending the IPL due to COVID cases, here's a timeline of how events unfolded
BCCI Vice-President Rajeev Shukla officially confirmed that IPL 2021 has been indefinitely suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak that breached several teams' bio-secure bubbles since yesterday. As many as four teams – Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Delhi Capitals are now in hard quarantine.
In a press release, the BCCI confirmed that the tournament had been postponed and that they'll arrange for the safe passage of players back home. "The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff, and the other participants involved in organizing the IPL," the statement said. "This decision was taken keeping the safety, health, and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind.
"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, 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."
Let's take a quick look at the way in which events unfolded and how BCCI ended up suspending IPL 2021 amidst the scare of the Coronavirus:
Ravichandran Ashwin exits the Delhi Capitals bio-bubble
Delhi Capitals' veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that he had taken a break from IPL2021 and would be exiting the DC bio-bubble. He also added that his 'family and extended family were putting up a tough fight against COVID19 and he wanted to support them in these tough times.'
Ashwin had also indicated that he might return to the IPL if things progressed in the right direction.
Australians Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, and Andrew Tye decide to fly home
Rajasthan Royals' Andrew Tye and Royal Challengers Bangalore's Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson decided to return back to Australia. Tye fled to Perth fearing that he will be 'locked out' of his own country given the surge of COVID19 cases back home.
Adam Zampa, on the other hand, revealed that he felt vulnerable in the IPL 2021 bio-bubble. He felt that this time around, the bio-bubble wasn't as stringent and secure as the one that had been deployed in UAE during IPL 2020. He also added that cricket made little sense when there were thousands of people suffering in India due to the deadly second wave of COVID-19.
Situation quite grim, says Ricky Ponting
Delhi Capitals' head coach acknowledged that the players feel that their families are outside and 'vulnerable' while they are safe inside the bio-bubble.
"It is really important, we are thinking about the extended family, not just us, but we've got to be talking about what's happening outside because it is quite grim," said Ponting.
Australian government suspends flights from India
The Australian government decided to suspend all commercial flights from India until May 15th. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison also revealed that Australian cricketers playing in the IPL will have to make their 'own arrangements' in order to return home.
Mumbai Indians' Chris Lynn requested Cricket Australia to arrange a chartered flight for the 14 Australian players and other personnel still taking part in the IPL.
"You have nothing to worry about," says BCCI in a letter addressed to the players
BCCI COO Hemang Amin ensured all the overseas players that the BCCI will take care of their safe return once the tournament concludes. "Be rest assured that the tournament is not over for the BCCI till each one of you has reached your home, safe and sound," he wrote in a letter.
Delhi hosts its first IPL match as dead bodies pile up
As Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad took part in the first match of IPL 2021 to be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla, wails of ambulances flooded the city's streets. Less than four kilometres away from the Kotla where superstars were playing out a game of cricket under the floodlights, over 50 dead bodies were burnt at the same time at the Nigam Bodh Ghat.
Shutting down IPL is not the answer, asserts KKR's Pat Cummins
The Australian pace bowler, who had donated USD 50,000 towards India's COVID-relief insisted that ending the IPL isn't the answer to India's problems amidst a deadly second wave of the Coronavirus.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure we don't take any resources out of the front line. I don't think ending IPL is the solution. Of course, there's an aspect that laying every night for three-four hours hopefully contributes to people staying at home as it has been a hard routine for them and we can help them get through each day," said Cummins.
Umpires Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel pull out of IPL 2021
Nitin Menon, one of the best umpires in India exited IPL 2021 after his wife and mother tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Paul Reiffel left the tournament in the wake of the Australian government deciding to suspend all travel from India.
First signs of breach in bio-bubble: KKR's Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier test positive
The match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore scheduled in Ahmedabad on May 3 was rescheduled after two KKR players – Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier - tested positive for COVID-19 while the rest of the squad was put into isolation.
Chennai Super Kings' L Balaji tests positive
Just a short while after the news of two KKR players testing positive surfaced, it was reported that Chennai Super Kings' bowling coach L Balaji had also returned a positive test for COVID-19. Chennai Super Kings squad was also put in 'hard quarantine.'
Five DDCA groundsmen test positive for COVID-19
Five groundsmen of the Delhi and District Cricket Association working at the Feroz Shah Kotla had also tested positive for COVID-19 but DDCA President Rohan Jaitley later revealed that none of them were present at the ground during any of the two matches played over the weekend.
Michael Slater slams the Australian PM for not allowing Australians to return home, leaves for the Maldives
Australian player-turned-commentator Michael Slater had left the IPL bio-bubble and fled to Maldives after Australia suspended flights from India until May 15. He also slammed the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Twitter, calling him 'a disgrace'.
Delhi Capitals asked to quarantine
Delhi Capitals, the last team to face KKR on April 29 were asked to quarantine after the discovery of the bio-bubble breach.
BCCI considers shifting the tournament to Mumbai in order to mitigate risk
According to a Cricinfo report, the BCCI was contemplating shifting the remainder of the tournament to Mumbai following a week's break. Apparently, BCCI officials had called up hotels and required personnel in order to arrange a proper bio-bubble so that teams could resume playing from the weekend after their due quarantine periods were over.
Wriddhiman Saha and Amit Mishra test positive for COVID-19
Sunrisers Hyderabad's Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals' Amit Mishra ended up testing positive for COVID-19 and the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals had to go into isolation.
IPL 2021 officially postponed
The BCCI officially released a statement and announced that IPL 2021 had been postponed for the time being. They also suggested that the health of the stakeholders was their prime concern and that players had been allowed to return back to their homes, something the BCCI will be taking care of.the the