Auritro Ghosh
The Business of Sports
4 min readMay 3, 2021


IPL 2021 on the brink of cancellation

Game thirty of IPL 2021, which was scheduled for the 3rd of May between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, has been postponed/cancelled.

This decision was taken by the BCCI after two players from the Kolkata squad reportedly tested positive for Covid. It is learnt that Varun Chakravarthy had gone outside the bio-bubble, to a hospital, to get an MRI scan on his knee, and may have caught the infection there. Sandeep Warrier is the other player from Kolkata to have tested positive. The BCCI who are usually bullish about anything and everything which is not in their interest would have decided to postpone all matches of Kolkata by seven days and asked the players to quarantine, and that would have been that. But the problem is, in another separate incident, three non playing staff of CSK have tested positive as well. Those three are the CEO Kasi Vishwanath, the bowling coach Laxmipati Balaji and the driver of their bus. The bowling coach was in the dugout and in close proximity of the players. The situation is tense in the CSK camp and they have cancelled their scheduled practice for today.

Chakravarty and Balaji, both of whom have tested positive for Covid.

The eight teams of the IPL have been currently divided into two groups. One group consists of Kolkata Knight Night riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings who have the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad as their home ground.

While Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, SunRisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals have made Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi their base. The situation now is such that both bio bubbles have been compromised. So the option of stopping games in one, and continuing with games in another is not there. Challenges and questions for the BCCI?

Before the first match

Moral challenge

Well first of all why did BCCI conduct the IPL in the first place? Was there no inkling of the situation turning this bad or did the BCCI take the normalcy of the situation with everything for granted?

When the whole country is suffering, people are dying, was an IPL really necessary. Wasn’t it a bit insensitive? BCCI which is the richest cricket board in the world was not running in losses so why this desperate need to hold cricket matches?

And even if the BCCI wanted to go ahead with the IPL, they could have done so in a different country, like UAE. Why was that option not considered?

The BCCI could have also carried on by donating a percentage of the income, after each IPL match, to hospitals or NGO’s. That would have made some sense at least to help offset the cost of carrying on with the IPL. Right now the situation in India is such that hospital beds are a luxury and oxygen cylinders for patients are nowhere to be found, and that is precisely why financial help was what the doctor ordered (pun not intended).

The Covid challenge

Varun Chakravarthy came back from the hospital and was directly put back into the bubble. The next day he even played the match against Delhi Capitals. In this whole episode is there a guarantee that no other player on the playing field has not contracted the virus?

Royal Challengers Bangalore shared its apprehension with the BCCI about the match against Kolkata when they learnt about Chakravarthy’s case. But surprisingly and most unfortunately it was not Kolkata who announced the news, and it was fortunate on their part that they got to know about Chakravarthy. This lack of transparency and the franchises and the BCCI constantly trying to hide information doesn’t feel right. Why don’t they share any information with the fans? Aren’t fans the biggest stakeholders here? It also puts the players and their families, who are in the bubble, at risk, which should never be the case.

A logical conclusion to this rapidly deteriorating situation

Moving forward, the BCCI and IPL who within these two organizations hold a gamut of extremely capable people should stop the IPL and instead use their resources to make sure that the people of this country, the fans of the game, who are stuck in hospitals, who are suffering in their homes can breathe a sigh of relief. Whether they do it or not only time will tell, but as someone wise had said, “you should do the right thing not because you can do it, but because you should do it.”