The global pandemic and its impact on cricket
Indian Premier League Governing Council chairman, Brijesh Patel confirmed that the tournament won’t be affected by the recent global pandemic, saying that the committee is well and truly monitoring the effects of the situation in the country.
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League is set to kick off on March 29, with defending champions Mumbai Indians slated to take on last year’s finalist, Chennai Super Kings. The outbreak of the disease, however, put several question marks over the tournament, but Patel confirmed that there’s no threat as of now.
Speaking about it, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, too, had a few words to add and even confirmed South Africa’s tour to India in mid-March will go as per the plan.
“Nothing in India. Not even discussed it (the pandemic)’” said Ganguly.
The Indian authorities are indeed looking positive, but the global cricketing circuit has well and truly been affected by the pandemic.
Ireland Women cancel Thailand tour:
It was only a couple of days back that the Ireland Women’s tour to Thailand for a four-team tournament was put to rest due to the pandemic. The tournament, which had Ireland, the Netherland, Zimbabwe and hosts Ireland, was scheduled to begin in early April, but the Cricket Association of Thailand confirmed the tour was called off "in the interests of player safety after ongoing discussions with the relevant medical authorities and the Sports Authority of Thailand."
Joe Root’s cautious approach:
Amidst the growing concern and ahead of England’s tour to Sri Lanka, captain Joe Root said that his players are going to avoid handshakes with each other.
"After the illnesses that swept through the squad in South Africa, we are well aware of the importance of keeping contact to a minimum and we've been given some really sound and sensible advice from our medical team to help prevent spreading germs and bacteria," Root said.
"We are not shaking hands with each other, using instead the well-established fist bump, and we are washing hands regularly and wiping down surfaces using the anti-bacterial wipes and gels we've been given in our immunity packs.
"There is no suggestion that the tour will be affected, but of course it is an evolving situation so we are in regular contact with the authorities and will proceed as advised, but at this stage we fully expect the tour to continue as planned," the skipper added.
The England squad has already been a victim of illness during their recent South Africa tour where as many as 10 players and four support staff members were hit by a mystery virus.
Bangladesh to withdraw from Pakistan tour?
After three T20Is and one Test, Bangladesh are to make another trip to Pakistan for one ODI and a Test. The tour, however, might come in jeopardy given the rise of concerns about the pandemic in the country. It is reported that schools in Sindh are directed to remain close until March 13 so that the victims of the disease are taken in isolation. As of now, as many as four cases have been registered in Pakistan; two in Karachi where the matches are to be played.
Speaking about the tour, Bangladesh Cricket Board chairman Jalal Younus said, "For us, players safety comes as our first priority and we are not going to compromise with it at any cost.
‘’We will talk with PCB in this regard and if we see that there is any threat than certainly we will not send our team to Pakistan but at the moment it is too early to make a decision in this regard as we still have time in our hand,’’ he said.
Eastern Regional T20 tournament affected as well:
In late February, as many as three teams in China, Bhutan and Myanmar pulled out from the 2020 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Eastern Regional T20 tournament in Bangkok, Thailand due to the pandemic fear. This was the first international T20 men’s tournament in Thailand and the country was hoping to stage it on a grand scale.
The two table-toppers from the tournament are scheduled to meet in the UAE in the Asia Cup qualifier in August. But with three teams out, only the likes of Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia will play.
Pre-season action in jeopardy:
English domestic cricket teams Essex, Somerset and Worcestershire flew to Abu Dhabi for pre-season practice in late February, however, two guests in the hotel they were staying in were tested positive, and the hotel was eventually locked down. That said, whether the training as well as the games will take place is all up to Abu Dhabi's sports council.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Lakruwan Wanniarachchi