Sourav Ganguly, BCCI president has defended the decision to organize IPL 2021 in India amid the criticism that the league has copped due to Covid-19 cases both in the country and in several franchises even breaching bio-bubble.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) copped plenty of criticism for its decision to host the 2021 edition in the middle of a raging ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in the country. While there were those who hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for not organizing the league in UAE like last year, board president Sourav Ganguly has come out defending the decision.
Sourav Ganguly: BCCI Did The England Tour Successfully And Covid-19 Cases In February Was Virtually Nothing
India seemed to have turned the tide in terms of Covid-19 cases earlier this year which prompted the BCCI to organize the T20 league in the country. Having successfully hosted the all-format bilateral series against England, BCCI received a huge boost in confidence but they didn’t realize that the second wave of the pandemic was to come.
In an interview with Indian Express, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly was asked whether organizing the IPL in India was a mistake. He, however, maintained that it wasn’t considering how low the virus caseload was in the country when the plans were being finalized.
“No. When we decided, the number was not even close to this. We did the England tour successfully,” Ganguly answered.
It was recently learned that the BCCI had the option of taking the league to UAE like last year but the officials decided against doing so.
When asked about the same, Ganguly said: “It was discussed, but the (COVID-19 cases) in India in February was (virtually) nothing. It has just gone through the roof in the last three weeks. Before that it was nothing. We discussed the UAE but then decided to do it in India.”
A few plans had surfaced in terms of hosting the IPL in India. The spike of positive cases in the bio-bubble had already resulted in the postponement of two IPL games. Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier (both KKR), Laxmipathy Balaji, Michael Hussey (both CSK coaches), Amit Mishra (Delhi), and Wriddiman Saha (Hyderabad) tested positive during IPL 2021 prompting organizers to indefinitely postpone IPL after 29 matches were held.
Sourav Ganguly: Covid Numbers Were Nothing When The IPL 2021 Started
There were suggestions of the entire league taking place in Maharashtra to reduce logistical headache but the BCCI went ahead with the initial plan to host the tournament in 6 cities. When asked if organizing the 14th edition of the league in only one or two cities would’ve been better, Sourav Ganguly responded with a sharp retort.
“As I said, when we decided all this, there was no (Covid spike) in India. So it’s very easy to say now, but when this tournament was organized, Covid numbers (in India) were nothing. We started with Mumbai and finished there without any case. And Mumbai was very high (number of active Covid cases) then,” said the former India captain.
Many even criticized the BCCI for continuing the IPL 2021 over the last couple of weeks despite seeing the havoc that the virus causing all across the country. On the criticism, Sourav Ganguly highlighted that leagues all across the world were held during the lockdown. The BCCI, hence, did nothing different.
“That answers your question (when asked if BCCI’s criticism was unfair). The English Premier League (when UK was in lockdown), La Liga, everything was happening around the world,” he asserted.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II. Across the world and to varying degrees, sports events have been cancelled or postponed. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo was rescheduled to 2021. The English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Spanish La Liga, and Turkey’s Super Lig are set to resume in June after a near three-month suspension. The Euro 2020 tournament has been postponed until 2021 while Copa America 2020 has been postponed until 2021.