IPL 2021: Practice Options in Delhi, Ahmedabad Possible Reasons for COVID Breach
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IPL 2021: Practice Options in Delhi, Ahmedabad Possible Reasons for COVID Breach

Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi, IPL 2021
Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi (Photo-Getty)

The IPL 2021 was suspended mid-tournament due to a breach of the franchise’s bio-bubbles. Multiple players, coaches, and support staff were found COVID-19 positive and the BCCI and IPL governing council had no choice but to halt the tournament.

Now it has been reported that the BCCI’s decision to host the second phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in cities with no alternate T20-specific practice facilities may have caused the breach in Covid protocols.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

The first stage of the IPL 2021 was played in Mumbai and Chennai and the tournament went off without a hitch. But in the second phase, with Delhi and Ahmedabad hosting the matches, things went wrong for the BCCI and the IPL. Then Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tested positive for the COVID-19.

It was also reported that multiple ground staff in Delhi had tested positive for the deadly virus.

There Is A Belief That BCCI’s Decision To Host Matches In Delhi And Ahmedabad Was Wrong

It has been reported that Delhi and Ahmedabad- both cities witnessing a constant rise in the COVID numbers- struggled to get alternate practice facilities for teams. In Delhi, teams like the Chennai Super Kings used the Roshanara Club grounds for the practice, those in Ahmedabad were forced to use Gujarat College ground.

Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi. Image-PTI

“There is a belief within many Board of Control for Cricket of India (BCCI) and state officials that the decision to take the second phase to Delhi and Ahmedabad was wrong. There were four teams in each city and except for the main ground, which is an international-level facility and hosted matches, the alternate facilities meant for practice were open to exposure to Covid-19,” an official in the know of things told IANS.

Alternate Grounds And Absence Of Facilities For Practice Might Be Reason For COVID Outbreak In IPL 2021

The practice facility at the Motera ground in Ahmedabad has another problem. Since the construction of annexed grounds and full facilities isn’t complete, the available facility is not suited to practice big shots needed in T20 cricket.

“The problem with the newly-built Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera is that the adjoining grounds and facilities are still under construction. While it will be a state-of-the-art facility with multiple grounds, it is not yet completed. The teams can’t use the current practice nets as it is not suitable for big hitting needed during T20 practice. It is okay for Test matches or first-class cricket practice,” said the official.

Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad (Image Credit: BCCI)

“So, taking players to Gujarat College ground was fraught with risk as there are so many people like the maalis [gardeners], security guard and others. It was easy to get infected,” he pointed out.

Further reported was that there were alternate venues that were not considered for different reasons.

Delhi has two Palam grounds which are spacious and secure, away from the city as well. There might have been issues with some aspects of the facilities there, although it has hosted international teams’ practice in the past. Closer to the IPL teams’ hotels is Jamia Milla Islamia ground, which is secure and has excellent dressing rooms, though the pitches could be an issue there.

“Shifting the tournament to Delhi and Ahmedabad opened the tournament to Covid-19 exposure,” the official said.

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