Amidst the continuous spike in the COVID-19 cases across India, organising IPL 2021 has been turning out to be a major challenge. IPL 2021 is slated to begin from April 9, however, before the start of the cash-rich tournament, several staff of the Wankhede stadium have contracted the Coronavirus. In fact, Delhi's Axar Patel who went to Mumbai to join Delhi's camp was also tested positive. This started speculation on whether BCCI should cancel the IPL in Mumbai and shift it to another venue. However, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly on April 4 clarified that the IPL 2021 will proceed as scheduled. Now, Maharashtra government has answered the question - 'Is IPL 2021 canceled?'
News agency ANI quoted state cabinet minister Nawab Malik who said that IPL's permission has been granted but people are not allowed to sit in the stadium. "IPL permission has been granted, matches to be played with restrictions. People are not allowed to sit in the stadium, only relays can be done. Players and others involved in IPL will be required to isolate themselves at the same place."
With India witnessing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases around the world, people on social media also started discussing whether the IPL should be canceled or not.
Hold up. IPL gonna carry on. Men's world cup is gonna continue as planned. Test championship too. But Women's u19 world cup postponed to 2023 because of Covid? 😂😂 Sahi se bahana toh do bhai.— Mature_Gambino (@saksham337) April 1, 2021
2nd covid ipl about to begin but still no hope for college reopening— Vinayak Sharma (@Vinayak47427793) April 3, 2021
With the third phase of COVID-19 immunisation getting underway in India, the BCCI is aiming to get the Indian cricket team and its members vaccinated with the IPL 2021 fast-approaching and the ICC T20 World Cup on its heels. Recently, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla said that vaccine is the only 'solution' now and urged the government to make it open for players of Team India and other cricketers in the domestic circuit as well.
However, the Maharashtra state Minister has also remarked on this request of BCCI. He said, "The BCCI has demanded that all players should be vaccinated for IPL, but as per ICMR guidelines, age limit is 45 years and above. Until and unless it issues new guidelines, we can't vaccinate. As soon as we get permission, more people will be vaccinated."
Maharashtra State Government recently introduced fresh restrictions and also imposed weekend lockdown in the state in order to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases. Wankhede Stadium is set to host 10 IPL games this season from April 10-25. The first match at the Mumbai stadium is slated to be played on April 10 between Delhi and Chennai. Four franchises—Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, and Rajasthan Royals—have set up their base in Mumbai as of now. The fifth franchise Kolkata is also based in Mumbai currently, but they will soon move to Chennai to play their first match against Hyderabad on April 11.
(Image Credits: PTI)