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Play in India’s top cricket league suspended since nation’s covid figures spiral out of control

Cricket officials in India declared Tuesday that they are suspending play in the Indian Premier League as the nation is still ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a declaration, the Board of Control for Cricket in India said it”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 well-being 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.”

Players or staff at three IPL clubs tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday, when the Indian authorities declared the state had surpassed 20 million cases throughout the pandemic, becoming the second nation after the United States to achieve that mark. India’s health-care system has nearly collapsed with numerous new instances, and crematoriums are running constantly to cope with tens of thousands of deaths.

The Indian Premier League, which occurs from March to May and can be seen as the most rewarding and highest-attended professional cricket competition in the world, had held 29 matches this season without fans. Its players, officials and coaches were adhering to strict bubble requirements, but among the players who tested positive — Varun Chakravarthy of the Kolkata Knight Riders — did so after leaving the bubble to get an injured shoulder checked out.

IPL officials had faced criticism over their decision to keep playing amid the pandemic, with the hashtag #CancelIPL trending on Twitter at a stage. Last week, a senior IPL official told Reuters that the league continued to play”because the matches were providing solace and entertainment to people and helping to keep them indoors.”

The IPL attracts top players from around the world, plus some of its overseas stars had started to leave India, among them Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson of Australia. They returned to the island country last week, before the Australian government declared Monday that anyone who arrives in the nation after visiting India at the previous 14 days can face up to five years in jail, a $50,000 fine or both. This motivated a fierce backlash against Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home,” former cricket star Michael Slater, who had been employed as a television commentator for IPL matches, tweeted Monday. “It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect.”

Considering the busy global cricket schedule, it will be difficult for your IPL to resume play once conditions improve. The International Cricket Council’s T20 World Cup, scheduled for October and November in India, also is in doubt, with the Associated Press stating the tournament might be moved to the United Arab Emirates, in which the IPL conducted its 2020 event earlier in the pandemic.

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