IPL ’’can’t happen’’ in India while coronavirus rages: Ganguly

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 02:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

NEW DELHI (AFP): This year’s suspended IPL cannot be completed in India while it battles a raging coronavirus crisis and could struggle to find a slot elsewhere, India’s Cricket Chief Sourav Ganguly has said.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) was abruptly halted at the halfway stage last week after several players became infected. India is reporting nearly 4,000 deaths and about 400,000 new cases a day.

India Cricket Chief Sourav Ganguly says this year's IPL cannot be completed in India while the country batttles a massive coronavirus crisis - AFP

Ganguly, President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said there was no way for the lucrative tournament to resume before India play the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand in England on 18 June.

“Too early to say how we can find a slot to complete the IPL,” Ganguly told Sportstar magazine in India at the weekend.

“There are lots of organisational hazards like 14-day quarantine. It can’t happen in India. This quarantine is tough to handle,” he added.

Virat Kohli’s side have a complicated schedule in coming months.

India will go to England in early June to prepare for the World Test final. They are then scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in July before returning to England for five Tests in August and September.

Last year’s IPL was moved to the United Arab Emirates because of the pandemic and a number of English counties have offered to host the remainder of this IPL.

As pandemic case numbers took off in India, more than 10 players and support staff in the IPL teams tested positive in the bio-secure bubbles set up for the league. The IPL was halted after four players from Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals tested positive.

Most foreign players have since left India.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert and Chennai Super Kings’ Australian Batting Coach Michael Hussey remain under treatment after testing positive. Hussey recently returned a negative test.

“Bubble life is harsh; it’s the toughest thing,” said Ganguly.

“Since last September, a majority of players around the world have been living inside a bubble. There is no option. We can’t play cricket without the bubble. Better to be on the field than sit at home.”