Already at the receiving end of much criticism from the public, the BCCI will now have to contend with the teams and players’ growing unease over the IPL 2021 as well. The board’s decision to push on with the tournament even as the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic played out right outside its stadiums and hotels have already made it highly unpopular with certain sections of the country. With the hashtag ‘Cancel IPL’ trending on Twitter after the Varun Chakravarthy COVID news, the board may have to prepare for a PR disaster unlike any it has faced in recent years after the CSK latest news made headlines on Monday.
While millions in the country have struggled and died for lack of access to adequate healthcare, the IPL’s employment of medical teams, excessive use of testing kits and deployment of police personnel at stadiums have all been called out as being tone-deaf and privileged. While the BCCI has maintained that the bio-bubbles are extremely effective and safe, the tournament has been in a spot of bother since the withdrawal of several international players earlier this week. The Varun Chakravarthy Covid report, coupled with sources saying that KKR bowler Pat Cummins may also be infected despite testing negative, may lead to many more players pulling out of the tournament, leaving teams with less than the required number of players. While not a massive issue just yet, any further rise in the number of cases could cause the BCCI to postpone more than just one match. Here’s how fans reacted to the possibility of the IPL being cancelled for the first time in its history.
In the latest development, three members of the Chennai Super Kings camp have also tested positive for the virus. Among these are the team’s CEO Kasi Vishwanathan, their bowling coach and a bus driver. However, other reports suggest that the three men actually returned false positives and have since tested negative, spreading even more uncertainty among the sides. To add to that, five groundsmen at the Arun Jaitley Stadium have also contracted the virus. While the team has confirmed that all players are negative, an official decision on the IPL cancelled demands is expected soon from BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.