Sport IPL postponed in wake of India's COVID devastation

13:30  04 may  2021
13:30  04 may  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The Indian Premier League has been postponed indefinitely by India's cricket authorities as the COVID-19 virus ravages the subcontinent nation.

With India currently in the grip of a monster surge in coronavirus positive infections, with nearly 20 million recorded cases and more than 300,000 daily over the last 12 days, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) have decided the IPL will cease with immediate effect.

The IPL has controversially continued over the past week despite the worsening COVID situation and despite several nations closing their borders with India, making it difficult for players, officials and stakeholders to leave the virus-stricken country.

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Two Kolkata Knight Riders players - Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier - tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, which saw the postponement of the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

However, barely 24 hours later, a statement released by the BCCI, in conjunction with the IPL GC, explained the decision had been made to postpone the IPL to ensure the safety of all involved with the competition.

"The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind," the statement read.

"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.

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"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."

With Australia moving to close the borders with India last week, several green and gold cricketers, including Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, were able to evacuate India before loopholes were closed by the Australian government.

Tye managed to get back into Australia first before heading into hotel quarantine, while Zampa and Richardson managed to do the same via a stop off in Qatar capital city Doha.

Australian cricket legend Michael Slater slammed the decision by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to close the nation's borders with India, effectively stranding Australia's IPL participants.

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All flights from India to Australia have been banned until at least May 15, with Australian players, coaches, umpires or media risking criminal penalties of up to five years in jail or a fine of up to $66,000 if they return before the ban is lifted.

"If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home," Slater wrote on Twitter.

"It's a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system.

"I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect."

Defending his government's hardline stance, Morrison labelled Slater's accusations "absurd", declaring the measures were only temporary and were in place to protect Australia.

It comes after India recorded 368,060 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with an average of 373,193 over the past seven days.

"No, that's obviously absurd," Morrison said on Channel Nine's Today Show.

"We've got a temporary pause in place because we've seen a rapid escalation in the infection rate of people traveling out of India that is putting enormous pressure on our system.

"It's a pause to May 15 and we're reviewing it regularly, this is to ensure we can get the infection rates down."

BCCI chief: IPL cannot be completed in India .
The remainder of the 2021 Indian Premier League cannot be completed in the country, says Sourav Ganguly, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.The IPL was suspended indefinitely last week following a number of positive coronavirus cases among the teams.

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