New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham doesn’t think that there is any chance of the remaining 31 matches of Indian Premier League happening in India this year, after the tournament got postponed due to COVID-19 cases inside the bio-bubble.
He also has serious doubts whether India would be able to host the 16-team T20 World Cup later this year.
India is in the midst of its worst ever health crisis in last 70 years with the country recording 400,000 cases on a daily basis with at least 4000 deaths on an average.
Both IPL and T20 World Cup are set to be re-scheduled to the United Arab Emirates.
“If it did start up again, I doubt the IPL would be in India again,” said Neesham told Newshub.
“I think we’ve already seen plans for the T20 World Cup to move out of India later in the year and they’re going to be ultra-cautious about that sort of thing,” said Neesham, who was playing for Mumbai Indians in the now suspended league.
Neesham feels the bio-security lapses could be due to the fact that the teams were travelling across the country.
“Even though we were flying on chartered planes, we have to go through customs, hand your details over to people, walk through terminals, so there were always going to be pinch-points there,” he said.
Neesham said that it is difficult to comprehend how the bubble was breached.
“We obviously don’t know yet exactly how teams were infiltrated, but… it’s such a difficult prospect to keep everything perfect and when you’ve got so many guys that are close to each other, there are going to be social interactions after games.
“Once one team has it, you start looking back through your last week at who you talked to and who you shook hands with. It certainly gets your mind racing.”
However, Neesham isn’t averse to the idea of going back to India again and playing the IPL if it resumes.
“For me, I signed up for the IPL knowing what it might be like. I felt like it was an obligation – I made the commitment to go and never had any thoughts of pulling out individually before the tournament finished,” he said.
“Guys will have different opinions on that, but it’s my job, I’m a professional and you have plenty of times you tour countries you’re not that keen on going to, but it’s about getting on the field and getting the job done.
“I would sign up again, especially once vaccinations start rolling out. I don’t think anyone really predicted how quickly it would all come crashing down over there and how quickly we would be on the first plane out.”
The IPL was suspended last Tuesday after four players and two coaches from four different teams tested positive for the dreaded disease within a space of 48 hours.
“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to get called off. I think, when you’ve got so many teams in different bubbles, the expectation was that there would always be some cases at some point during the tournament,” Neesham said.
“We thought teams might have to lock down and miss a couple of games, like we’ve seen in other organisations, like the NBA. The show must go on.
“The thing that was so shocking was how quickly it came up in so many different teams at the same time and we didn’t really have an option in the end.”
Neesham said they were “not out of the woods yet” and may develop symptoms in the coming days.