IPL 2021 suspended indefinitely after rise in Covid-19 cases

Decision confirmed by Indian Premier League chairman Brijesh Patel

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The IPL has been suspended indefinitely after a rise in Covid cases among players and staff.

The tournament’s organisers announced on Tuesday a decision to postpone the season with immediately effect had been unanimously agreed.

"The [Board of Control for Cricket in India] does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL,” a statement read.

“This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being 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.”

Despite mounting criticism in recent days, the tournament had continued even as coronavirus cases surged across India.

Monday's game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders was called off following the positive cases of Kolkata bowlers Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier.

That was followed on Tuesday by the announcement that Chennai Super Kings players and staff had entered a week-long isolation period in response to two positive cases within their camp.

Soon after, it was announced Sunrisers Hyderabad player Wriddhiman Saha had returned a positive test ahead of the game against Mumbai Indians later on Tuesday, meaning three franchises are now dealing with positive Covid-19 cases.

It was reported earlier on Tuesday that the BCCI had been considering shifting the remaining 31 IPL matches to Mumbai in an attempt to save the season.

Now, though, the decision has been taken to suspend the season altogether.

India's tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, following 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, as the country battles a devastating second wave.

The health crisis had led to a growing unease among players and officials, who are now set to plan their journeys home.

In terms of overseas involvement in the competition, flights from India to a number of destinations are now closed.

It is unclear, for example, how the Australian contingent will return home, given the country’s ban on passenger flights from India.

Michael Slater, the for Australia international turned commentator, called the travel ban “a disgrace” in an angry social media post on Monday.

The IPL organisers, though, have vowed to do all they can to return their participants home.

“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021,” the organisers said.

“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.”