Covid cases forces relocation
Covid cases are rising World wide once again. Community transmissions are reported in Auckland in New Zealand. Lockdown already in vogue in UK, and cases are rising alarmingly in Maharashtra and Kerala in India. This has made cricket boards across the world reschedule and relocate current fixtures and events.
Already we had Australia canceling their South Africa tour one month ago for their all-important test series for the world test Championships opening the doors for both India and England to qualify. The spread of the new mutant coronavirus in South Africa was the reason behind the cancellation.
After Auckland has reported fresh covid cases, the last 3 T20Is in the ongoing series between Australia and New Zealand which were to be played in Auckland, is now being shifted to Wellington as Auckland is going into a week-long lockdown which bars sports activities.
Similarly, T20I matches between England and New Zealand women’s cricketers are also being shifted out of Auckland.
Back in India, with Pune reporting fresh covid cases forces relocation, the 3 match ODI series between England and New Zealand will now be played behind closed doors which means no spectators are allowed in the stadium. Earlier there were reports that matches will be shifted out of Pune but this is not being done as of now.
The bigger issue will be with IPL 2021 which will start from April onwards. Initially, Mumbai and Pune were considered as the hub with maximum stadiums available across the two cities.
However, with covid cases rising alarmingly in Maharashtra, the BCCI is already mulling plan B which is to identify other big centers like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai for the IPL fixtures. Also, the fate of spectators coming to stadiums for the games hangs in balance again. Hence we will have to wait and watch what action BCCI takes relating to IPL event match locations in view of the Covid cases forces relocation.
***by Amitava Mukherjee