India’s cricket chiefs on Tuesday suspended the Indian Premier League indefinitely as a fresh Covid-19 bombshell rocks the Twenty20 competition.
It comes after three people associated Kolkata Knight Riders tested positive to COVID-19 on Monday. That forced the postponement of the first match in the IPL, before officials then agreed on Tuesday to reschedule the Super Kings’ match against the Rajasthan Royals, with two members of the Chennai team also testing positive.
It’s now emerged that Sunrisers Hyderabad’s fixture against the Mumbai Indians was also set to be postponed after Wriddhiman Saha also tested positive for Covid-19.
With positive tests at four different franchises, officials were left with little choice but to suspend the lucrative T20 tournament indefinitely.
The captain of Aussie star Steve Smith’s Delhi Capitals – coached by Australian great Ricky Ponting – tested positive, forcing the side into isolation.
As Indian society buckles with more than 20 million COVID-19 cases and more than 220,000 deaths from the virus, the IPL halted competition. “The tournament stands suspended,” IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said. “Right now, we can’t say when we can reschedule it.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) voted unanimously to suspend the tournament, which had been due to finish on May 30.
In a statement, the BCCI said it was “imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.
“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021,” a BCCI statement said.
The Super Kings’ chief executive Kasi Viswanathan, bowling coach L Balaji and another staffer, believed to be a bus driver, tested positive on Sunday but returned negative reports on Monday, according to reports in India.