The Indian Premier League has been postponed with immediate effect, with England’s 11 participants among those now looking for safe transit out of the country.
The competition has been carrying on against the backdrop of a public health emergency due to a huge coronavirus surge but with multiple reports of franchise bubbles being breached by positive cases, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s governing council unanimously voted to suspend the action.
“The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect,” a statement on the official IPL website read.
“The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind.
“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.
“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.”
Mumbai Indians were due to play Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, in what would have been the 31st match of a scheduled 60, but Sunrisers became the third franchise to reportedly return a positive Covid-19 case among their staff a matter of hours before the planned start.
Two players from the Kolkata Knight Riders and two of the Chennai Super Kings backroom team also tested positive over the weekend, leading to enforced quarantine and postponed fixtures.
England’s IPL contingent is led by limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, with Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Tom and Sam Curran all involved.
Over the weekend, India recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began.
The country has recorded more than 200 million cases, and so far reported more than 222,000 deaths from the virus.