'IPL 2021 to go as per schedule' - BCCI President Sourav Ganguly amid COVID-19 scare

Ganguly said that there are no plans in place to bring any change in the schedule as of now.

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Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The COVID-19 cloud over the 14th edition Indian Premier League is growing thick and dark by the day. A number of cricketers have decided to opt-out of the tournament amid the rampantly rising cases and deaths in the country, apprehending the situations of flight unavailability and travel sanctions that might leave them hanging in India later.

While the tournament is being conducted in a strict bio-secure environment, with no mishap reported thus far, the anxiousness of the foreign players has raised questions on whether the league would be conducted further.

Answering that, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sourav Ganguly has said that there are no plans in place to bring any change in the schedule as of now, and the tournament is going to be conducted “as per the schedule”.

In the last 24 hours, as many as three players have pulled out of the tournament due to different reasons. While India and Delhi Capitals’ off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin cited the reason to be with his family during the crisis, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa opted out stating personal reasons.

Apart from them, Andrew Tye, Rajasthan Royals’ fast bowler, flew back to Australia intending to avoid the growing risks and the fear of not being able to fly back later due to flight unavailability. Liam Livingstone, his Rajasthan teammate, had cited bubble fatigue as the reason behind not playing the IPL further.

So far, it’s going on as scheduled: Sourav Ganguly 

The BCCI president was clear in his communication: “So far, it’s going on as scheduled,” Ganguly told Sportstar on Monday.

“As of now, there is no communication in calling off the tournament, so we are planning everything to keep players motivated and safe. If any player wants to pull out due to family/personal reasons, we will do everything possible to help him,” another BCCI official said earlier.

Sources in England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) said that they do not plan to call the players back, but they will do the best to facilitate the return of players who wish to fly home.

A statement issued by Cricket Australia on Monday read: “Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association remain in regular contact with Australian players, coaches, and commentators taking part in the Indian Premier League, which is being conducted under strict bio-security protocols,” they said. “We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian Government. Our thoughts are with the people of India at this difficult time.”

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