Delhi to Host 1st IPL Tie on Wednesday Amid Skyrocketing Covid Cases

Delhi will host its first match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday amid skyrocketing Covid-19 cases and during complete lockdown in the national Capital where patients are gasping due to shortage of oxygen and dying due to lack of beds in hospitals.

On Monday, Delhi reported over 20,000 new Covid cases and 380 deaths. The situation vis-a-vis oxygen supply is so grave in Delhi that the Delhi High Court on Tuesday told the Delhi government that it is unable to manage oxygen cylinders for patients, the court would ask the Central government to managing oxygen supply.

The question gaining currency is: Is it fair to organise IPL matches when the country is virtually crippled due to the pandemic? But so far, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has insisted that the matches would go ahead as scheduled.

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On Wednesday, Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla grounds at the Arun Jaitley Stadium will host the first of eight IPL matches, between table toppers Chennai Super Kings and wooden-spooners SunRisers Hyderabad, starting at 7.30 pm — just half-an-hour before the night curfew starts. On Thursday, Mumbai Indians play Rajasthan Royals at the same venue. Teams will practice till May 7, a day before the last match is played.

An IPL match usually lasts three-and-a-half hours. No spectators are allowed in the IPL this year.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) on Tuesday said that Wednesday’s match will take place as scheduled.

“We have no crowds, and the match is being conducted in a strict bio-bubble. So, there should be no problem with its safe progress,” said a DDCA official on Tuesday.

The DDCA has booked Roshanara Club ground – a first-class venue in old Delhi — for teams’ practice sessions till May 7, a day before the last match in Delhi is scheduled.

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“There are four teams here, so we needed another ground, besides the Arun Jaitley Stadium for the practice of the teams.”

On Tuesday, Mumbai Indians practiced at Roshanara, which is also under strict bio-bubble.

“The ground staff has been lodged in a hall under the old clubhouse. It is under a strict bio-bubble. The staff will be shifted to another place tonight [Tuesday night] since the broadcasters have arrived and the hall will be at their disposal,” said the official.

The staff, including the ground staff, is being tested every alternate day.

The DDCA administrative staff, as well as the curator, has been lodged at Hotel Lalit on Barakhamba Road, close to the stadium.

While the catering for those travelling with the IPL bandwagon is not the BCCI’s responsibility, the food for the staff is being provided by the DDCA, with the cooks also lodged up inside the stadium in the bio-bubble.

“There will be not more than 700 people at the stadium during a match. The DDCA staff plus doctors and fire brigade will make it around 200 people. There will be 400 policemen while the BCCI, franchise officials and the broadcasters will be around 100,” informed the official.

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