The BCCI is in a pickle, with the COVID-19 jump in Mumbai coinciding with the Indian Premier League (IPL). Because of the increasing number of cases in the region, the state government has dropped enough hints that severe pandemic-time controls — like a curfew — could be implemented to stem the tide. The BCCI think tank is in a tizzy about this, but they insist that getting the IPL out of Mumbai is not a choice right now.
Will the increase in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, as well as the possibility of a lockdown, have an impact on the IPL?
The IPL Mumbai leg, which runs from April 10 to 25, is currently unaffected. The state government has exempted the IPL from the new restrictions imposed by the BCCI, which has decided to host games without spectators and with all stakeholders — players, coaches, support staff, and officials — within a bio-bubble.
There isn’t a single gathering (for the games). According to Aseem Gupta, secretary of Relief and Rehabilitation, the matches will be held without an audience and without any communication with anyone (outside the bio-bubble). Some in the Maharashtra government claim that the IPL would actually encourage people to remain indoors.
Why is the BCCI apprehensive about moving the IPL from Mumbai?
Sourav Ganguly, the president of the BCCI, has confirmed that the IPL would go on as planned because a last-minute change will be logistically disastrous.
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), and Delhi Capitals are the four IPL teams currently hosted by Mumbai. The city has three world-class training facilities: Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai Cricket Association–Bandra-Kurla Complex (MCA-BKC), and Thane’s Daddoji Kondev Stadium, thanks to the city’s deep-rooted cricket tradition. Mumbai’s cricket infrastructure is matched with very few regions in the country.
There are also other issues to consider. Each IPL team has about 40 players. If the IPL is moved to another area, the BCCI will need to find approximately 200 rooms for the four teams. They’ll also need 30 more rooms for their umpires and employees. The television production team, which can be changed in at least 100 spaces, will be joining this future mass evacuation.
There are other issues as well. Each IPL team has about 40 players. If the BCCI decides to transfer the IPL to a different area, it will need to find approximately 200 rooms for the four teams. They would also need 30 additional rooms for their umpires and staff. The television production team, which can be changed in at least 100 spaces, will join the future mass evacuation.
Where is the major issue?
If the IPL is rescheduled, the eleventh-hour mass movement would have to account for travel. Organizing chartered flights for the entire IPL team from Mumbai will not only be costly, but also difficult. Any kind of air travel will necessitate interaction with security forces. Since most teams have already reached a stable bio-bubble, this change in plans will necessitate a new three-day isolation policy at the new site. Furthermore, under typical circumstances, the BCCI needs close to seven days to prepare for an IPL game.
What other COVID-19 steps has BCCI implemented?
The BCCI has opted to test everybody in the bio-bubble every day rather than every third day, as it did during the previous IPL season. After 10 Wankhede Stadium grounds workers and Delhi Capitals all-rounder, Axar Patel screened positive, the decision was made. Grounds staff and curators now have their own bio-bubble.
According to those following trends, after polling is completed, these figures are expected to increase. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) is on high alert, with four teams competing in the first leg at Chepauk: the Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Other venues, such as Delhi, have already begun to take precautions, despite the fact that their share of seven IPL matches does not begin until April 28. The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) had agreed to close the stadium on April 10th, enclosing ground workers in a bubble and excluding employees from taking public transportation. It has now completed the first round of workers vaccinations.
Meanwhile, Mumbai has been the epicentre of Covid-19’s fury once again. While the BCCI deserves credit for relocating the IPL to the United Arab Emirates in 2020, it has struggled this season on many fronts. Here are a few examples of places where the board should have done a great job.
Before agreeing to hold the tournament here, the board considered moving it to the UAE once more. Many of the BCCI’s own owners believed that moving to the UAE was the best option.
What was the point of having six venues if there were no spectators? Were the instructions flawed, and were isolation windows violated?
- The health recommendations were drafted late in the process.
- The BCCI did not employ a safety and technology company to build a core bio-bubble, as they did last year in the UAE with UK-based Restrata.
- There is currently no GPS monitoring, which was completed prior to the start of the tournament in the UAE
- Hotel reservations have been made at random, whether by franchisees, the BCCI, or in collaboration. One franchise, for example, is staying in a hotel that is part of a commercial complex 10 kilometres from the stadium in Mumbai
- Visas for international players is delayed.