From the Viewsroom

It’s time to call off the IPL

B Baskar | Updated on April 28, 2021

With the second Covid wave in full swing, cricket can wait

We are in the midst of the IPL's 14th season. R Ashwin, and Australia's Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa have already pulled out of the BCCI's premier tournament. Given the serious Covid situation in the country, they have chosen to be with their near and dear ones, and who can blame them. There will also be the fear among foreign players of being stuck in India, with several nations cancelling flights from India, Australia being the latest one to suspend flights till May 15.

Also the IPL being played in bio-bubbles of Chennai and Mumbai so far has now moved to Ahmedabad and Delhi. All these four cities are seeing a huge surge in Covid cases.

With the Covid cases having crossed the 3-lakh mark relentlessly over the last six days, it is time BCCI bit the bullet and calls off the IPL. With so much misery around it seems unfair to proceed with this annual cricketing extravaganza. The tournament can be merely suspended and not scrapped altogether and can be resumed once the pandemic situation improves.

Apart from the safety of the players, umpires and the coaching staff, the safety of the other personnel, who are crucial for the conduct of the tournament -- ground staff, pitch curators, catering staff, transport staff -- is also at stake.

Calling off the IPL will certainly lead to a lot of scheduling headaches for the BCCI as well as the cricketing boards of other countries. BCCI will have to work out an IPL schedule that does not clash with T20 World Cup, which India is hosting between October and November this year. Maybe the IPL could be resumed in a more truncated form in a couple of months.

Of course the BCCI would be fervently hoping that the pandemic situation improves before October so that it doesn't disrupt the T20 World Cup. There are reports of UAE being considered as a standby venue for the World Cup. For some cricket may seem like a welcome distraction in these depressing times. But right now the focus of all must be on combatting the pandemic.

Published on April 27, 2021

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