Cricket returned in 2021 with a lot of surprises and mind-blowing performances. India’s dominance in overseas Test series, the opening partnerships between Babar Azam and Md. Rizwan which includes a special knock by both ensuring Pak’s maiden victory against Indian in T20 World Cup 2021, New Zealand winning World Test Championship and underdogs Australia clinching their maiden T20 World Cup were a few of the takeaways from the year 2021.
Although a lot of cricket was played all around owing to a bio-secure environment i.e. bio-bubble and strict COVID protocols, there were few instances when the virus breached all the protocols putting highly-anticipated series at risk. SportsTiger listed out a few such instances when the COVID-19 outbreak caused the series to be postponed in 2021.
5) Asia Cup 2021 cancelled due to COVID outbreak in Srilanka
The 2021 Asia Cup, which was shifted from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, was called off due to rising COVID-19 cases in the island nation. The Asia Cup, which was last held in 2018, was scheduled to be held in June but Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva announced that it will be difficult for them to conduct the tournament owing to rising COVID cases in the Island nation.
The tournament was supposed to be hosted by Pakistan but since India were unlikely to travel there due to political tension between the two nations, it was shifted to Sri Lanka.
However, in October 2021, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced that Sri Lanka would host the tournament in 2022, with Pakistan hosting the 2023 edition.
4) Cancellation of last Test match between England and India in Manchester
Lof cricket pundits notably, Michael Vaughan criticized the Indian cricket board for not letting players participate in the last and fifth Test match due to IPL in UAE. The match, which was due to take place at Old Trafford in Manchester, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID-19 cases inside the camp. Later, mutually both the boards decided to reschedule the last Test for July 2022.
3) PCB postponed Pakistan Super League
The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was postponed with immediate effect after several cricketers tested positive for COVID-19. The tournament which started on February 20, had to be called off and was later rescheduled in the UAE. The sixth edition saw the first half being conducted in February-March 2021, and the second half being conducted in June 2021 in the UAE.
Notably, even the previous season of the PSL had to get postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the playoffs of the fifth edition of the league had to be postponed from March 2020 to November 2020.
2) ODI series between Pakistan and West Indies postponed due to multiple positive cases in West Indies camp
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) postponed the three-match One-Day International series due to multiple cases of COVID-19 in the visitors’ camp. The series was rescheduled to early June, next year in 2022.
The West Indies side was hit by the Coronavirus even before the three-match T20I series started as three players and a support staff member tested positive upon landing in Pakistan. The tour, however, went on. Upon, more positive cases, the visitors were left with only 15 fit payers to pick a squad from, it was mutually decided to postpone the ODI series as West Indies did not want to play with a depleted squad given the ODIs are a part of the Super League which determines a team’s progress into the 2023 World Cup.
1) COVID-19 breached IPL’s air-tight bio bubble
With a heavy heart, the BCCI was forced to postpone the highly-anticipated Indian Premier League 2021 after multiple positive cases of COVID-19 was found among players and support staff. The decision came following a massive vicious outbreak in the country resulting in yet another lockdown.
However, the second leg of the IPL took place after a few months in UAE where Chennai Super Kings emerged as champions for the fourth time, defeating KKR by 27 runs.