IPL 2021 has ended up hitting a blank wall. The second-half of the almost two-month long tournament got suspended by BCCI on May 4 following rising COVID cases in the IPL. The breach of bio-bubbles, supposed to keep the coronavirus at bay has proven to be a massive headache for BCCI who are now preparing for the safe passage of players and personnel back home.
Two Indian players – Devdutt Padikkal and Axar Patel – suffered from COVID-19 just before joining this season’s IPL. While Devdutt Padikkal missed only the first week of IPL 2021 as he was quarantining at home, Axar Patel missed a considerable number of games. Axar returned to the IPL on April 25, taking part in Delhi Capitals’ fifth win of the season. Both these cases were handled smoothly and the players were only able to enter the bio-bubble after serving their mandatory quarantine periods.
On May 3, news broke out that two Kolkata Knight Riders players tested positive for COVID-19 – Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy. Varun Chakravarthy might have picked up the virus when he visited a hospital to get a shoulder scan done and was apparently reallowed into the bio-bubble without a quarantine period.
The rest of the squad was put under hard quarantine. Delhi Capitals, the last team to face KKR before the development was also asked to isolate while KKR’s match against Royal Challengers Bangalore was also rescheduled.
This was followed by the news that three non-playing personnel of the Chennai Super Kings squad had tested positive. The franchise later confirmed officially that bowling coach L Balaji and another member of the support staff had tested positive and the squad was put in hard quarantine.
Furthermore, five DDCA groundsmen working at the Feroz Shah Kotla returned positive tests for COVID-19 though DDCA President Rohan Jaitley later confirmed that none of them was present at the ground during the weekend matches.
On May 4, reports emerged of Sunrisers Hyderabad wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha testing positive. That development put the MI vs SRH match scheduled to take place in Delhi. Soon after that, Delhi Capitals’ veteran off-spinner Amit Mishra ended up returning a positive COVID-19 test.
These breaches in bio-bubbles and the rise of cases led the BCCI to suspend IPL 2021 indefinitely.