Sourav Ganguly, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President, has confirmed that the IPL 2021 will proceed as scheduled notwithstanding the weekend lockdown imposed in Maharashtra by the government in wake of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
From Friday 8 pm to Monday 7 am the state will be in lockdown. Only essential services, and transportation including buses, trains, and taxis will be allowed. Wankhede Stadium will host 10 matches this season from April 10 to 25. However, the former India captain has assured the tournament will continue as planned.
“Everything will go on as per schedule,” Sourav Ganguly told ANI.
State Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik announced the lockdown. But he, too, confirmed that the permission for conducting the IPL matches has been given, provided the players follow the protocols. Most of the players have already entered the bio-bubble for the tournament which commences on 9th April. He also revealed that the BCCI has requested for vaccination of the players.
“The permission has been given for the matches with restrictions, the crowd would not be allowed to enter the stadiums. Whoever is participating in the IPL, would have to stay at one place in isolation. There can be no overcrowding, we have made this clear and on this basis, we have given the permission,” Nawab Malik told ANI.
“There are many people demanding for vaccination. BCCI has also requested that the players be vaccinated. We also know that there are many people in Maharashtra who are at risk of being exposed to the virus. We also want the age limit to be reduced so that we can vaccinate, but unless the Central Government gives the permission, we cannot do so,” he added.
3 players tested positive before the IPL 2021
3 players namely Nitish Rana (Kolkata Knight Riders), Axar Patel (Delhi Capitals), and Devdutt Padikkal (Royal Challengers Bangalore) have tested positive for the virus. All three were isolated, with Rana now cleared after returning subsequent negative tests.
Apart from the three players, a member of the Chennai Super Kings’ content team has also tested positive and was consequently put in quarantine. A report also emerged stating that 8 ground staff members at the Wankhede had contracted the virus; 2 have tested negative later.