The Indian Premier League‘s (IPL) Mumbai leg will go ahead as per schedule despite the Maharashtra government imposing a lockdown-like restrictions across the state from today. But the BCCI President has declared that the restrictions will not impact IPL Matches in Mumbai and matches will go ahead as per schedule in Mumbai.
BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly told Sportstar, “No… it’s as per schedule.” Mumbai is scheduled to host 10 matches in the tournament and has so far successfully conducted 2 of fixtures in a strict bio-secure environment. With eight fixtures remaining in the city, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals will lock horns on Thursday, followed by Punjab Kings and Chennai Super Kings a day later.
The BCCI official feels that the restrictions imposed by Maharashtra Government could be a “blessing in disguise” for the smooth operation of IPL. According to the BCCI official, this will mean total restriction of unwanted people thereby limiting the possibility of Covid 19 transmission in and around Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, one of the major venues of IPL 2021 season.
“We are keeping a close eye on the developments. We are totally committed to Covid-19 guidelines. There is no possibility to shift the matches from the five venues, including Mumbai. In fact, operations have been smooth in the two matches played so far in Wankhede without any hiccups. Night curfews and weekend curfews seem to be a blessing in disguise as far as IPL operation is concerned given the huge spur in Covid 19 cases in Maharashtra and Mumbai,” a top BCCI official said on the condition of anonymity.
The BCCI official said the situation was totally under control and the isolated cases that came up could not breach the bubble. “A few players got infected during their travels. they have been quarantined and isolated. The groundsmen and others came from different parts of the city and they have been replaced. Everything is under control. Nothing to worry as far as players, coaches and support staff are concerned” he informed.
A few franchisees who mostly chose to keep their cards close to their chest. Requesting not to be named one of the top officials from a franchisee said: “We understand the gravity of the situation and trusting BCCI decision and wisdom on this. We have been told that the matches will continue as per schedule in the given venues. There has not been any written communication but we have been told verbally not just our franchisee but all the eight franchisees that they are not looking at any other alternate venues as of now. Yes, I agree with the BCCI view that lockdown could well be a blessing in disguise as far as IPL matches in Mumbai are concerned.”
Earlier, IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel had made it clear that IPL will stay in Mumbai despite the growing cases in the city and the state of Maharashtra. “The IPL matches will be held in Mumbai. Once you are in a bubble nothing happens. Even in the UAE last season, there were a few such incidents in the lead-up to the event but once the tournament started everything was fine,” he had said this recently adding that: “We have got the necessary permission and assurances from the state government to conduct matches there. Mumbai will be hosting only ten matches between April 10 to 25 and there will be nothing to worry inside the bio-bubble. We are in a well-secured set-up and the players and support staff will be safe.”
The IPL chairman Brijesh Patel and IPL GC member Arun Dhumal had also endorsed BCCI president’s view and said the question of shifting the venue at this stage did not arise.