The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 had its fair share of criticism for continuing amid the raging second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. Most players maintained that they felt safe in the bio-bubble while there were a few overseas players who decided to leave the tournament mid-way and head back home.
Even a few other foreign players had apprehensions over continuing in the league but were convinced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over their safe return home.
While questions were raised with IPL games happening as thousands of people were dying in the country due to Covid-19, questions were raised from the outside but most inside the bubble maintained that they feel absolutely safe.
After the IPL got suspended, with 31 games to go, Director of Cricket South Africa, Graeme Smith questioned the ‘double standards’ of players who were unwilling to travel to South Africa during Covid-19 but had no issue playing IPL in India.
“You see some of those players sitting there at the IPL and not making any noise. Having had experience of things here you do see some things differently, and [you see] a version of double standards. It’s disappointing,” Smith was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Speaking on behalf of his own players, Smith asserted that the likes of Chris Morris, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, etc. didn’t feel threatened with the virus and were made to feel absolutely safe by the BCCI.
“In no way would we judge. Having spoken to the players, they felt safe. They felt the BSE [Bio-Secure Environment] was a really good experience in India. They never felt at risk. But that’s the nature of what Covid brings,” Smith said.
Australian cricketers had earlier called off their bilateral series against South Africa due to concerns over Covid-19 situation in the Rainbow Nation. Even England cricketers had left the series mid-way to return home after a few cases of virus emerged in the camp.