Darren Gough calls for 2021 IPL to be halted amid Covid surge

Former Yorkshire and England cricketer Darren Gough has called for the 2021 Indian Premier League to be cancelled, as the Covid-19 cases in the country continue to rise.

Former England Test cricketer Darren Gough has called for the 2021 Indian Premier League to be halted
Former England Test cricketer Darren Gough has called for the 2021 Indian Premier League to be halted

Infection rates in the southern Asian nation have continued to surge in recent days, with 320,000 new cases reported today, and the total death toll nearing the 200,000 mark.

Speaking on talkSPORT yesterday afternoon, Gough tore into the tournament organisers, players and fellow pundits over the apparent determination to keep the tournament going amid the crisis.

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Gough said: “Well I'm sat watching it (the IPL) now and it's such a great view, it's such a great tournament. I was shocked firstly when it was (announced that) it was going to be played in India - if you look towards the end of England's series against India, the numbers were rising.

"They were umming and ahhring, but they were adamant that is was going to be played in India, especially after England's series went on over there. But I think this: they need to have a good look at themselves, some the cricketers around the world, when people are dying around them. This is not 800-900 (cases) a day, this is 350,000 a day, and it just keeps rising, and rising, and rising."

He continued: “Kevin Pietersen tweeted yesterday saying he'd had six Covid tests in seven days, so they've got people there administering all of that... those resources would be better helping India get through this crisis that's going on at this moment in time with millions of deaths (globally) so far.

“The Aussies called off the South Africa tour because there were 1000 cases per-day. Well in India there's 350,000 cases (on Monday). Yet some Australians are still there. A few have left, I think (Andrew) Tye, (Kane) Richardson and (Adam) Zampa have gone, but where's the rest of them who were adamant they didn't want to go to South Africa?

“What about the England players who were desperate to get home from Sri Lanka during Covid because it was kicking off in England... Well, they're all still over in India playing in the IPL, and some of them have got their family there... they should be coming home.

“England, they had two people in South Africa in a hotel that got Covid, so England packed their bags and flew home on a private jet and cancelled that tour. Yet, eight England players are still over in the IPL. Commentators are still over in the IPL: Dominic Cork; Graham Swann; Nick Knight; Kevin Pietersen - it's unreal, but it's still going on.”

The former fast-bowler, who took over 200 Test wickets for England, went on to suggest the competition could be postponed, and contended: “Yes, I'm watching it, but I cannot understand with everything that's going on in India, (why) that tournament is taking place... this tournament has got to end now. The PSL (Pakistan Super League) got cancelled and they're going back in June to finish.

“What is different about the IPL? Except other than that it's the biggest media rights contract the world has ever seen for sport. That's the only reason it's continuing, and that players are paid a ridiculous amount of money to play in it and they don't want to leave it.”