On Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to postpone the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League as the bio-secure bubble was breached in two cities after Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra tested positive.
Now, former England captain Michael Atherton has said that while a lot of people would want the IPL to be held at some point considering the revenue it brings to global cricket, he can’t see when it can be rescheduled to. Notably, the Indian cricket team is also scheduled to travel to the UK to play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand from June 18-22, followed by a five-Test series against England, which will end on September 14.
“I just don’t see where the gap (in the schedule) is. India come to England for five Test matches in the summer — and that ends around mid-September. Then the T20 World Cup, which is supposed to be in India - but who knows, they may have to move that tournament to the UAE — takes place in mid-October," Atherton told Sky Sports.
After IPL 2021 was postponed, reports emerged that the BCCI would incur a loss amounting to Rs 2000 crore of the broadcast and sponsorship money earmarked for this year’s Indian Premier League.
Later on it was reported that the BCCI was mulling to hold the tournament just before the T20 World Cup, however, Michael Atherton feels that amid a packed international calendar, it would be very difficult to stage the tournament.
“The IPL is obviously worth a lot of money to the global game - I think it brings in a third of the game’s global revenue - so people will be keen to see it staged, but the logistics are very tricky for the tournament now," Atherton told Sky Sports.
Atherton also highlighted that IPL not only involves Indian cricketers but also high-profile overseas players and with a packed schedule and pre-T20 World Cup preparations it would be difficult to get many players on board.
“It is a logistical challenge. The IPL not only has a high number of domestic Indian players, but players from all around the world," he added.
He also said that it would be too hard on the Indian cricketers to ask them to spend more time in the bubble since they would already be spending a long period inside bio-bubbles by then.
“There is maybe a gap there, but all countries will already have their pre-T20 World Cup preparations baked in now — England are due to go to Bangladesh and Pakistan, for example — and you’re also asking India’s players, who have spent long, long periods inside these bubbles, and then asking them to spend more time in one, it seems hard to me," he said.
HE also welcomed BCCI’s decision to postpone the tournament after the bio-secure bubble was breached.
“It became inevitable once the Covid cases got inside the franchises’ bubbles — three or four franchises had to go into quarantine or isolation — and, once that happened, the tournament became impossible really," he said.
“Up until that point, they could make an argument that in a pretty horrendous time for India, the IPL was providing a bit of daily respite for people to watch in the evening. That argument held water, just about, but it didn’t once the bubbles were breached," said Atherton.