Former England captain Michael Vaughan has voiced his concerns against the rescheduling of IPL 2021, which the BCCI earlier suspended due to the rising COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, the BCCI called off the 14th season of the tournament indefinitely after four franchises reported COVID-19-related infections. With the Indian cricket board looking at the September window to resume the competition, Michael Atherton does not believe they could do so.
The crisis began unfolding when on Monday, Kolkata Knight Riders’ two players tested positive for COVID-19. The news of Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier testing positive for the disease prompted the authorities to postpone their clash later in the day against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad. It got worse after SunRisers Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra also tested positive, with Chennai Super Kings’ few members reporting such instances.
Michael Atherton reminded that India will travel to England for five Test matches this summer and return in September. The cricketer-turned-commentator underlined that the T20 World Cup also looms, which might be shifted to the UAE. Simultaneously, Atherton agreed that there remains a small gap; however, all countries have to prepare for the T20 World Cup as England go to Bangladesh and Pakistan. He feels that demanding the Indian side to spend an extended time seems unrealistic.
“I just don’t see where the gap [in the schedule] is. India come to England for five Test matches in the summer – and that ends around mid-September. Then the T20 World Cup, which is supposed to be in India – but who knows, they may have to move that tournament to the UAE – takes place in mid-October. There is maybe a gap there, but all countries will already have their pre-T20 World Cup preparations baked in now – England are due to go to Bangladesh and Pakistan, for example – and you’re also asking India’s players, who have spent long, long periods inside these bubbles, and then asking them to spend more time in one, it seems hard to me,” Michael Atherton told Sky Sports.
It is a logistical challenge: Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton believes that the BCCI has a logistical challenge since apart from domestic players, there are international ones too. The 51-year old understands that the tournament contributes to one-third of the game’s global revenue and people might want it staged, but he does not see it feasible.
“It is a logistical challenge. The IPL not only has a high number of domestic Indian players, but players from all around the world. The IPL is obviously worth a lot of money to the global game – I think it brings in a third of the game’s global revenue – so people will be keen to see it staged, but the logistics are very tricky for the tournament now,” he added.