Indian Premier League suspended due to Covid-19 as country’s death toll rises

The Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely amid concerns regarding the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Officials moved to make the decision after a player for Sunrisers Hyderabad tested positive ahead of their match against Mumbai Indians, scheduled for today (Tuesday) in Delhi.

A statement from the IPL read: "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.

"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.

"The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times."

Rising cases within the IPL bubble have caused organisers to finally bow to pressure to halt play with the situation in India worsening by the day.

India's health system is now being pushed to the brink by the pandemic, with over 220,000 deaths officially recorded, though the real number is believed to be far higher.

The country has now had more than 20million recorded infections with over 400,000 reported in the last 24 hours – a global record.

All the while the IPL has been carrying on as normal without the presence of spectators until the latest developments within the team camps.

The match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals – due to be played on Wednesday – was postponed after two non-playing members, CSK chief executive Kasi Viswanathan and the team’s bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji, contracted the virus.

CSK confirmed that both staff members had gone into isolation and were under the care of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

That had followed the decision to call off the fixture between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday after two KKR players, Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, had tested positive.

A number of England's cricket stars are currently playing out in India, including one-day captain Eoin Morgan.

Other players, including Englishman Liam Livingstone and several Australian players, have already left the competition.

The IPL regular season is due to finish on May 23 with the final scheduled for May 30.

Organisers had previously been unwilling to push the competition back despite criticism over the continuation of play while India as a whole was struggling to get to grips with the virus.

Players have been kept in bio-secure bubbles in order for matches to go ahead but organisers now face a battle to finish the competition.

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