IPL 2021 to go ahead with restrictions, confirms Maharashtra Cabinet MinisterMalik

Despite the staggering rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state with urged the government to enforce a weekend lockdown, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik on Monday confirmed that the Indian Premier League matches scheduled to be held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will go ahead as per the schedule.

Maharashtra government on Sunday announced that the state would enter a phase of lockdown from Friday 8 pm to Monday 7 pm to curb the spread of the virus.

"The permission has been given for the matches with restrictions, the crowd would not be allowed to enter the stadiums. Whoever is participating in the IPL, would have to stay at one place in isolation. There can be no overcrowding, we have made this clear and on this basis, we have given the permission," Malik told ANI.

"There are many people demanding for vaccination, BCCI has also requested that the players be vaccinated. We also know that there are many people in Maharashtra who are at risk of being exposed to the virus. We also want the age limit to be reduced so that we can vaccinate, but unless the Central Government gives the permission, we cannot do so," he added.

Earlier on Sunday night, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly too had spoken on the same lines confirming that IPL 2021 will go ahead as per the schedule despite the steady rise in COVID cases.

"Everything will go on as per schedule," Ganguly told ANI.

The Wankhede Stadium will host 10 IPL games this season between April 10 and 25, the first being between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings.

Meanwhile, four IPL franchises - Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, and Rajasthan Royals - have set their training camp in Mumbai during this period to prepare for the 14th season.

BCCI is also mulling over vaccinating all the IPL players, as admitted by the board vice-president Rajeev Shukla.

"In order to cope with this coronavirus rise, I think the only solution is to get vaccinated. BCCI is also thinking on those lines that players should be vaccinated. Nobody knows when coronavirus is going to end and you can't give a deadline that by this time frame, it will not be there so players can play easily. So, I think now will have to think over that. Vaccination should be done for the players also," Shukla told ANI.