Travelling between cities could have caused the breach in the IPL's biosecure bubble, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly believes, but the BCCI "will have to do a post-mortem" to confirm if it were so. Speaking to the Telegraph, Ganguly also said that the BCCI will look at creating a window for the remainder of IPL 2021 ahead of this year's T20 World Cup, scheduled for October-November.
"I really don't know what led to this situation inside the biosecurity bubble. We will have to do a post-mortem and look into the reasons behind this," Ganguly said in an interview with the Indian newspaper, two days after IPL 2021 was indefinitely postponed halfway into the league due to a Covid-19 outbreak within the bubble. "But travelling could have been an issue.
"Last year [IPL 2020] in the UAE, everything was restricted to three venues and within a limited area. There was no air travel involved. Here we had six different venues.
"You also have to look at the situation around the country. The way the number of people are getting affected on a daily basis is total madness. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Things have gone out of control for everyone."
When the IPL was called off, five cases had been confirmed across three franchises (KKR 2, CSK 2, Sunrisers 1), with two more positive tests - to the Delhi Capitals spinner Amit Mishra and the Super Kings batting coach Michael Hussey - being confirmed since then. The cases cropped up after the IPL moved from Mumbai and Chennai to Delhi and Ahmedabad for the next leg of matches. It was due to shift once again to Kolkata and Bangalore from next week, before returning to Ahmedabad for the playoffs.
"We have to speak to other boards and see if a window can be made available before the T20 World Cup. Lot of things are involved and we will slowly start working on them."
Sourav Ganguly on a window for completing IPL 2021
The aborted IPL, coupled with the second wave of the pandemic that is currently raging across India - the daily new case count stands at about 400,000 - puts the country's status as hosts of the upcoming T20 World Cup in serious doubt.
While Ganguly said it's too early to comment on that matter, he said the BCCI would talk to other boards to see if they can fit the remainder of the IPL in between the end of India's tour of England in September and the start of the global tournament in mid-October.
"There has got to be a lot of shuffling. Only a day has passed since we suspended the IPL. We have to speak to other boards and see if a window can be made available before the T20 World Cup. Lot of things are involved and we will slowly start working on them.
"If we fail to complete the IPL, the loss will be close to INR 2500 crore (USD 340 million approx). That is going by early estimates."
Asked by the Indian Express why the IPL didn't reappoint the UK-based Restrata, who did the job of biosecurity in the UAE last year, to take charge of the bubble this time around, Ganguly said: "We discussed their name, but they don't have a big presence in India, that was the problem. So we went with others."
He also told the Express that there will be no separate vaccination drive organised for the players by the BCCI. "Now that they have time, they will do it individually since the [state] governments [are] getting the vaccinations done. They all go to their respective homes, so it's an easier option that way."