IPL 2021: ‘Difficult to create another bio-bubble’, BCCI optimistic about holding 10 IPL games in Mumbai

The BCCI is optimistic about hosting the 10 scheduled IPL 2021 games in Mumbai despite a huge surge in COVID-19 cases in the city, citing that creating a bio-bubble at an alternative venue would not be feasible at a short notice.

On Saturday (April 3), Delhi Capitals’ Akshar Patel, 10 members of the ground staff at Wankhede stadium and 6 event managers deployed by the BCCI tested positive for the deadly virus.

While Hyderabad and Indore have been kept as reserve venues in case the situation goes out of hand, the BCCI is confident about conducting the games in Mumbai.

“Yes, Hyderabad is one of the stand-by venues but for all practical purposes, we are still not thinking about shifting games from Mumbai. It will be difficult to create another bio-bubble at such short notice,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on Saturday.

According to the report, the organisers are sweating over the rising cases at the Wankhede stadium. There were eight positive cases till Friday evening but now it’s 10.

“Yes, it was eight positive cases yesterday as far as ground-staff are concerned. Today two more positive cases have emerged and all 10 have been sent back home and are isolated.

“We are bringing fresh ground-staff from the Mumbai CA ground in Kandivali for preparations. Also six to seven event management staff hired by BCCI have also tested positive,” a senior Mumbai Cricket Association official told PTI.

In a media release, Delhi Capitals also confirmed that Akshar has been kept in isolation outside the bio-bubble.

“Delhi Capitals all-rounder Akshar Patel has tested positive for COVID-19. He had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on 28 March, 2021, with a negative report. His report from the second COVID test, came positive,” the DC statement said.

“He is currently in isolation at a designated medical care facility. The Delhi Capitals medical team is in constant touch with Axar and ensuring his safety and well-being.”

With the addition of 47,000 cases on April 2, Maharashtra might impose another complete lockdown.

“…I am giving an indication for a complete lockdown, but not announcing it formally. If things do not improve visibly in a couple of days and if no other solution is found, we will have to announce another lockdown like it is being done globally,” Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had tweeted two days back.

When a senior BCCI office-bearer was asked about the situation, he told PTI: “Look, even if there is a lockdown, the teams are in bio-bubble and also it’s a closed-door event. So we are still confident that IPL games in Mumbai will be held as per schedule with Delhi Capitals playing Chennai Super Kings on 10 April on the second day of the tournament.”

“But Hyderabad and Indore are there on stand-by in case the situation goes out of hand. But if there is lockdown, it is even more easier to hold the games as the crowd factor even around the venue and other paces is taken care of,” he further remarked.

Four franchises namely Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals have set up their base in Mumbai but they don’t have access to Wankhede Stadium.

“Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings for example are taking turns to train at the Brabourne Stadium and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) ground. KKR is training in Navi Mumbai at the DY Patil before they leave for Chennai,” the official informed.

As per the report, BCCI’s medical unit will increase the testing rate due to the surge of cases in Mumbai.

The event management and operations of IPL till last year was handled by the IMG but from this year, the board is handling the event on its own.

“We have enough back-up staff to handle as we had factored in that the situation in Mumbai is grim at the moment. But yes, we are closely monitoring the situation,” the official added.

(With PTI inputs)

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