T20 Mumbai tournament postponed amid rise in Covid-19 cases

A day after Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) nod to host T20 Mumbai, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) on Thursday has decided to postpone the league owing to the spike in the Covid-19 cases in the country.

Milind Narvekar, the chairman of the T20 Mumbai governing council and a close aide of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, took the decision to postpone the league in consultation with MCA president Vijay Patil.

“In the view of the current situation, president Vijay Patil and I, in my capacity as the chairman, have taken the decision to not conduct the T20 Mumbai League till further notice. This is our way to reduce load on the state machinery and also making sure everyone is safe,” said Narvekar, who is also one of the secretaries of Shiv Sena.

He added: “I spoke to Vijay Patil and he supported my decision, which is a right one, looking at the current circumstances.”

Later, MCA issued a statement regarding deferring the third edition of the tournament.

“In the view of the current Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country and keeping in mind the safety and interest of all the stakeholders involved, the Mumbai Cricket Association has decided to defer the conduct of third edition of the T20 Mumbai League till further notice,” read the statement which was signed by Narvekar and Patil.

On Wednesday, BCCI had bent its own rule to allow four associations to organise their respective T20 leagues after IPL concludes.

According to BCCI’s rules, local T20 tournaments cannot be held 15 days before or after IPL, and also between September 15 and end of February, as BCCI’s domestic tournaments are held during this period.

In an email to the state associations, BCCI interim chief executive officer (CEO) Hemang Amin stated: “Your request for organising the tournament falls within the 15-day period after the IPL 2021. The issue was discussed at the apex council meeting of the BCCI and after some deliberations it was decided that owing to the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, the BCCI is giving permission to organise the tournament within the 15-day period after the completion of IPL 2021.”

The mail added: “The BCCI is pleased to grant you approval to organise the tournament for the year 2021. You are instructed to adhere to the advisory and guidelines issued by BCCI in this regard. We reiterate that this is a one-time permission provided due to the pandemic situation and is not the norm,” the BCCI official wrote.

Besides the MCA, the other associations who have been given permission are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Saurashtra.

The Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) schedule was released later in the day. The tournament will be held from June 4 to July 4.

MCA had applied for permission long ago, when the Covid-19 situation was under control in the city.

According to sources, MCA was planning to start the tournament by June 4, provided the Covid-19 situation in the city was under control. The plan was to follow the bio-secure bubble protocols that were in place during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and IPL.

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