The second wave of COVID-19 cases is wrecking havoc in India, with the country reporting more than 3 lakh daily novel coronavirus infections. Cities hosting the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season have also been affected.
As scheduled, matches have moved from Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Mumbai, Maharashtra to Ahmedabad, Gujarat and national capital Delhi.
The wave of cases has battered India’s healthcare system hard as scores of people struggle to secure hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medicines such as Remdesivir.
While some players have expressed concern over the situation, others have opted out or withdrawn from the Twenty20 league’s ongoing edition.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
With Australia suspending all passenger flights Down Under from India until May 15, Aussie batsman Chris Lynn -- who plays for the Mumbai Indians -- has reportedly requested Cricket Australia to arrange a charter flight to bring players home at the end of the tournament.
According to a report by news agency ANI, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will let players decide about COVID-19 vaccination. However, it is unclear if foreign players and staff will be eligible.
Here’s a quick look at players who have opted out of IPL 2021:
R Ashwin (Delhi Capitals)
Ravichandran Ashwin announced earlier this week that he was taking a break from the IPL, saying that his family is currently "putting up a fight against COVID-19" and he wants to support them.
"I would be taking a break from this year’s IPL from tomorrow. My family and extended family are putting up a fight against #COVID19 and I want to support them during these tough times," Ashwin tweeted after his team’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 25.
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Australian bowlers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson withdrew from the remainder of the season citing personal reasons, their franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore announced on April 26.
Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals)
Australian Andrew Tye, left midway from the league as he feared getting "locked out" of his own country in the wake of a COVID-19 surge in India. "The bubble fatigue was also a factor," Tye told an Australian radio station.
Liam Livingstone (Rajasthan Royals)
England’s Liam Livingstone opted to return home citing "bubble fatigue". He had spent much of the last 10 months travelling in and out of bio-secure zones. His IPL team said that Livingstone had flown back to the United Kingdom before India was added to a "red list" of countries.
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings’ Josh Hazlewood had opted out even before the 2021 season started. The Australia fast bowler cited the pandemic as the key reason for his withdrawal.
Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and RCB's Josh Philippe had also pulled out of IPL earlier, citing "personal reasons". It is unclear if their withdrawal was due to the pandemic.
On April 26, Australian cricketer Pat Cummins, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders, announced that he was donating $50,000 to the ‘PM Cares’ fund. Cummins said he was saddened by the medical crisis unfolding in India. Cummins said he was donating specifically to help with oxygen supply shortages in several states of India.
Despite the early exits, the BCCI has insisted that the event will continue and it would not come in the way of those wanting to leave.
The IPL final is scheduled to take place on May 30 in Ahmedabad.Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2021 here