Former Australia captain Ian Chappell opines that the suspension of the IPL 2021 is a “reminder of the game’s vulnerability” to its fans and the boards. The IPL was postponed on Tuesday due to an outbreak of the covid-19 in four separate franchises.
Earlier in March, the Pakistan Super League 2021 was also halted due to the same reason. In December last year, England called off their tour of South Africa mid-way, after completing the T20Is leg and before the ODI series, due to reports of positive covid cases inside the bubble. Later Cricket Australia pulled out of their tour of South Africa owing to covid concerns.
“The suspension of the 2021 IPL tournament because of surging Covid infections and deaths among the public, and a number of participants testing positive, was a reminder of the game’s vulnerability,” Ian Chappell wrote for ESPNcricinfo.
“In the past, tours have been aborted and matches abandoned for a variety of reasons. Many of these involved backstories, some of which were tragic and others amusing,” he added.
Ian Chappell narrates instances when the game was suspended:
Ian Chappell, in his recent column for ESPNcricinfo, recalls a few instances when cricket matches were stopped for some reason in the bygone era.
The first incident, which he writes about, is from 1969 from England’s tour of Pakistan.
“In 1969, England toured a bitterly divided Pakistan where the series was haunted by protests from the beginning. When a riot brought the third Test in Karachi to a premature halt, the England team flew home immediately,” the 77-year old wrote.
“In the match, Colin “Ollie” Milburn had completed his second Test century after being recalled from Australia, where he had enjoyed a prolific Sheffield Shield season with Western Australia. In one innings he smoked a scintillating double-century against Queensland, where he scored a believe-it-or-not 180 runs in a single session.
“Milburn’s excellent Shield form and subsequent Test century looked to have cemented his spot in the England team, but sadly he never represented his country again. On returning home he was involved in a serious car accident which resulted in him losing sight in one eye. It was a sad end to the career of one of cricket’s great entertainers and characters.
The other incident which the former Aussie skipper mention is about how the fourth Test between the same two sides in 2006 came to a premature end after Pakistan walked off the field for being accused of ball-tampering.
“At the same ground in 2006 the fourth Test between England and Pakistan came to a premature end with much recrimination.
“Pakistan forfeited the match after refusing to take the field when the team was accused of ball-tampering and penalised five runs. Despite cricket employing more sheriffs than you’d find in the old American Wild West, the Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, could not be coaxed into taking his team back onto the field,” he recalled
“After a lengthy delay the match was awarded to England on a forfeit. In a disgraceful attempt at compromise, the ICC subsequently declared the match a draw in 2008. However, integrity finally won out in 2009 when the decision was reversed at the behest of the MCC, who quite rightly claimed that to not uphold the laws set a dangerous precedent,” Ian Chappell opined.