THE Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis crippling the nation as a FOURTH team recorded positive cases.
The country saw 352,991 new Covid-19 cases on Monday with the pandemic wrecking through the health system.
Sunrisers Hyderabad joined Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals in having new cases within the camp in recent days.
Wriddhiman Saha of the Sunrisers returned a positive test – meaning half of the eight teams are now affected.
This year’s campaign began on April 9 with the final set for May 30 in Ahmedabad.
Meanwhile the Australians involved in the tournament are reported to have flown to the Maldives for two weeks to allow themselves to return from Australia.
Returning directly from India to Australia at the moment can result in a £36k fine and prison sentence under new temporary laws passed by the country.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir joining the pleas for help across the nation.
Cricinfo are reporting that 40 or so Australian players, coaches and commentators will head to the Maldives now.
They are not allowed back into Australia at present so will relocate away from India while the pandemic rages on.
Cricket South Africa have just released a statement saying they’re helping get players back home right away.
They’ll have to undergo quarantine on arrival back home but the process to get them back to their families has begun.
From Cricket Australia.
They will not seek exemption for players to return to Australia but will work with BCCI to keep them in safe accommodation until they’re able to do so.
As mentioned there’s 11 English players who are going to make their way home.
But spare a thought for the Australian contingent of 13 players and many more coaches.
The Australian government told anyone trying to return from India they face up to five years in jail.
One reason Indian officials were so keen to get this tournament played in India and in this set-up is the World T20 this year.
The tournament is set for October and November in India and the BCCI wanted to use this event to show the ICC they could pull off a multi-team tournament.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens to that tournament.
‘A VERY SENSIBLE DECISION’
The view of former England captain Michael Vaughan:
The Pakistan Super League started earlier this year and that league was also hit by a Covid outbreak and forced to suspend in March.
They have hopes to get up and running again in June and play to a completion.
STATE OF PLAY
As it stands the tournament is exactly halfway through with 30 of the 60 matches having been played.
Every team has played seven of their 14 league games – apart from Delhi and Punjab who’ve played eight.
Teams are currently split across two cities – Delhi and Ahmedabad – and the final was due to take place on May 30.
We’re expecting an ECB statement at some point today on the IPL cancellation and what happens with the 11 English players out there.
Will bring that to you as and when it lands.
One potential problem for the IPL in trying to extend this tournament into June is India are due to travel to England for the World Test Championship final straight after this tournament.
Maybe that game could be shifted back? India are in England for five Tests in August and could play that New Zealand clash just before that series?
Who knows at this stage?
Here’s another possibility, the tournament is finished off later this year.
It would take some rejigging of the cricket calendar but the money the IPL brings is massive for Indian cricket.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Indian national team matches postponed or rescheduled to get this tournament completed.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
If the tournament does take a pause and shifts to Mumbai, there’s the possibility of playing double headers in most days to still play a final on May 30.
Or they could indeed play the final at a later date and extend the tournament into June.
More likely I think at this stage – the tournament is suspended and it doesn’t come back. What a shame.
Currently there are 11 English players out in India for this tournament.
England captain Eoin Morgan is also captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, and with him in India are the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan and Sam Billings.
Liam Livingstone had already left Rajasthan Royals citing bubble fatigue while Ben Stokes broke a finger and Jofra Archer never made it over with an elbow problem.
Reports in India that BCCI officials have told players they can go home and are helping to organise overseas travel for the international players.
Not a good sign for the tournament. A resumption next week in Mumbai is not looking likely.
There’s talk in India of the entire tournament now being shifted to Mumbai.
That city has three stadiums and is hoped to be past the peak of this wave, and having all the teams in one city would minimise travel.
That was one idea before the tournament but BCCI officials instead opted for this ‘caravan roadshow’ approach of playing in different cities then moving on.
Four teams being affected means that half the league now has a Covid problem.
Suspending the IPL at this stage is the only option.
WHERE DO WE STAND?
Conflicting reports out of India but we believe that four teams have now been affected by Covid.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha from Sunrisers Hyderabad is the latest case to emerge this morning.
Yesterday two Kolkata Knight Riders players were confirmed to have tested positive, as were three backroom staff from Chennai Super Kings.
And Delhi’s Amit Mishra has also tested positive according to reports.