Michael Atherton can't see IPL happening this year, says postponement was "inevitable"

Michael Atherton has said the postponement of the 2021 Indian Premier League was "inevitable" after three franchises returned positive Covid-19 cases in the past few days, while he also believes it will be difficult for the tournament to be rescheduled.

On Tuesday it was announced that the 2021 IPL had been 'suspended indefinitely' amid concerns over coronavirus levels in India.

"It is a logistical challenge. The IPL not only has a high number of domestic Indian players, but players from all around the world," Atherton told Sky Sports.

He added: "The IPL is obviously worth a lot of money to the global game - I think it brings in a third of the game's global revenue - so people will be keen to see it staged, but the logistics are very tricky for the tournament now."

BCCI is contemplating resuming the league after September 18 when the Indian players return from their tour of England. But that would come at a very high cost. India is expected to host New Zealand before the T20 World Cup slotted between October 18 and November 15. Organising IPL then would jeopardize India’s pre-World Cup plans of strategising and gelling the team together.

“I just don’t see where the gap [in the schedule] is. India come to England for five Test matches in the summer – and that ends around mid-September. Then the T20 World Cup, which is supposed to be in India – but who knows, they may have to move that tournament to the UAE – takes place in mid-October. There is maybe a gap there, but all countries will already have their pre-T20 World Cup preparations baked in now – England are due to go to Bangladesh and Pakistan, for example – and you’re also asking India’s players, who have spent long, long periods inside these bubbles, and then asking them to spend more time in one, it seems hard to me,” he said.

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