Mumbai: Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has been suspended indefinitely after many players tested positive for Covid-19, said Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sources.
According to details, two Kolkata Knight Riders players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji and CSK travel team support staff member are among those who were diagnosed with coronavirus.
Earlier yesterday, players and staff from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) isolated themselves after multiple cases of Covid-19 were detected in the team.
KKR, which also features Australian superstar Pat Cummins and is captained by Eoin Morgan, is now in doubt for playing against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday night. Indian media has speculated that it may be Cummins himself who is unwell with the virus, however, no confirmation has been forthcoming from BCCI. Cummins had recently come in for praise after he donated $50,000 to India’s fight against the virulent wave
The match between RCB and KKR to be played on May 3, was the thirtieth match of the tournament. It might now be scheduled for later. RCB is captained by Indian legend Virat Kohli.
BCCI has been criticized for allowing IPL to go ahead even as India battles a coronavirus surge of mammoth proportions. Critics have said that the cash-heavy tournament should have been cancelled in light of the human tragedy unfolding across the country. The tournament is now past the halfway mark, with players and teams sequestered in biosecure bubbles.
Many high profile players have opted out of the tournament in the wake of the raging pandemic. Australians Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson pulled out of the tournament last week. India’s own Ravichandran Ashwin also left the tournament, stating that he needed to support his family as they battled the disease. Ben Stokes left after fracturing a finger while Englishman Liam Livingstone also departed from India, citing “bubble fatigue”.
However, many international superstars are still scheduled to play in the remaining matches including Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow.
IPL is scheduled to end on May 30.
India’s current Covid wave has taken on frightening proportions, driven in part by a new variant of the virus which has double mutations. Earlier this week, India overtook Brazil as the country with the second-highest number of cases in the world, behind the USA. Experts are concerned that given the low testing rate, India possibly has higher number of cases than either US or Brazil.
On Tuesday the country reported almost 368,000 cases, and 3,400 deaths. Real numbers could be much higher, with crematoriums and graveyards both running out of space across the country.