BCCI secretary Jay Shah has confirmed that there will be no bio-bubbles from the upcoming five-match T20I series between India and South Africa onwards which begins on June 9.
Since Covid-19 struck, cricketers have been forced to play the sport in strict bio-bubbles, which have caused mental fatigue, resulting in many of them opting out of key tours and games.
However, Jay Shah said that the bio-bubble for the IPL 2022 was probably the last one the BCCI will have and though the players will be tested for COVID-19, bio-bubbles will cease to exist.
“If I’m not wrong, the bio-bubble for IPL-2022 was the last. For the India-SA series onwards, players will be tested (for covid), but will not be any bio-bubble,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah told TOI on Friday.
“Yes, it’s tough for the players. However, they got a family-like atmosphere inside the hotel bio-bubble. In the case of the IPL, we had hotels dedicated to each team. The whole tournament was held at one place. All the teams had their lounges, and recreational centres (to relax and unwind). So, they also enjoyed it,” said the BCCI secretary.
Talking about his reaction when the COVID outbreak happened in the DC camp, Shah said: “My reaction was that ‘we’ve to move on.’ For us, the safety and security of the players is paramount, but still, we decided to move on. We shifted DC’s match from Pune to Mumbai. We got all the players/support staff struck by covid treated properly. We kept conducting RT-PCR tests for DC’s members on a daily basis. Fortunately, all DC members were fine later.”
Jay Shah also thanked the cricket associations of Mumbai and Maharashtra for conducting 70 league matches of IPL 2022 successfully.
“We want to thank them for helping us out. If we had conducted the IPL in entire India, and there was a covid outbreak, then everyone would’ve suffered-both the players and the BCCI would’ve suffered financial losses. We organized it in Mumbai and Pune because we could do away with air travel for the teams. Ground transport was enough,” Shah explained.
Having conducted three IPLs during the pandemic time, the BCCI deserves praise, felt Shah: “We were amongst the first cricket boards which conducted a domestic league (during covid, in 2020 in the UAE). We created the largest bio-bubble in the world. When IPL-2020 kicked off, there wasn’t a single covid case. We conducted more than 30,000 covid tests during that tournament. We’ve to thank the UAE government also for giving felicitating on arrival visas and providing tight security. In 2021, we tried to hold the IPL in India, but the moment there was a covid outbreak in the teams, we immediately postponed the IPL and shifted it to UAE.”
The IPL 2022 will have a closing ceremony at the Narendra Modi Stadium featuring AR Rahman and Ranveer Singh.
“We gave the tender for it to the company which has quoted the lowest price. AR Rahman (noted musician) will perform in connection with India’s memorable wins, while Ranveer Singh (Bollywood actor) will perform on a theme about individuals from various regions in India,” he said.
“For us (Gujarat), hosting the IPL final is a proud occasion. Although I’m the BCCI secretary, we’re thankful to the Board for giving Ahmedabad this opportunity. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold a closing ceremony in the last three years, but now with government guidelines allowing for it, we’ve decided to stage it. The biggest thing is that the closing ceremony will highlight the 75 years of India’s independence-the theme will be on Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, as per the PM’s wishes,” said Shah.
(Times of India inputs)