Former India left-arm pacer Karsan Ghavri feels the safety of the players is the most important thing and that IPL 2021 should have happened in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
UAE hosted the IPL 2020 due to COVID-19 and the tournament was conducted smoothly. Ghavri feels the UAE would have been the best option once again this year due to the rise in coronavirus cases in India.
“It has been more than a year now that COVID-19 is there. I would say IPL should have been played in the UAE or any other country, but not in India. The condition right now is very bad. India shouldn’t have hosted the IPL this year. They should have opted for the UAE just like last season,” Ghavri told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.
After the clash between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), scheduled to be played on Monday, was postponed after two KKR team members tested positive for COVID-19, the match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) was also postponed. The decision was taken after CSK’s bowling coach L Balaji tested positive for COVID-19.
The BCCI finally took the call to call off the cash-rich tournament for now, after Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals’ Amit Mishra also tested positive. Saha tested positive in Delhi ahead of SRH’s Tuesday clash vs MI and Mishra tested positive in Ahmedabad.
“I know there is a huge fan following in our country but the health of people should be the first priority. What was the harm in hosting the IPL in the UAE? When you had all the facilities there in terms of five-star hotels etc. You have Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai. These are stadiums equipped with all facilities. The UAE should have been the first option to host the IPL. The UAE was the best play to host IPL matches and keep our players safe,” Ghavri further said.
Kagiso Rabada with Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant during an IPL game. (PTI Photo)
GHAVRI BACKS ‘STAR PACER’ RABADA
Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals and South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada didn’t have the best of outings at the IPL, till before the tournament was suspended indefinitely. Rabada, who was the purple cap holder last season with 30 wickets in 17 matches, including two four-wicket hauls, was in 12th place on the list of highest wicket takers for this season, with 8 wickets in 7 games.
“Rabada is a star cricketer. You always see ups and downs in the life of a cricketer. That’s what is happening with Rabada. He is a top South Africa pacer. He was the highest wicket-taker last season that doesn’t mean you will expect the same kind of show from him this season too. It can happen with any cricketer. A batsman scores a century and then scores a duck too. This doesn’t mean he is not a good batsman. Sometimes the luck factor is also there. You are bowling at your best and still, you are not getting wickets. Rabada is a quality bowler,” Ghavri said.
“In this format of a game, you just have 4 overs. The batsmen come with a mindset to hammer a bowler and bowlers come with the mindset of not leaking runs and taking early wickets. So, this format demands a lot of luck. A bowler needs a higher confidence level. A couple of bad performances don’t make Rabada a bad bowler. He is a star bowler,” Ghavri, who played 39 Tests and 19 ODIs for India between 1975 and 1981, further told TimesofIndia.com.
Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli plays a shot during an IPL 2021 game. (ANI Photo/IPL Twitter)
KOHLI – NEVER OUT OF FORM
Ghavri also backed Kohli who had not been extremely impressive this season, before the season was called off for now. The RCB skipper scored 198 runs in 7 matches at an average of 33.00 and was 15th on the list of highest run scorers for IPL 2021.
“He (Virat) is the kind of player who can make a return at any point of time. Virat needs just one match to make a comeback. He doesn’t need much time. He is never out of form. As I said, it is T20s, anything can happen here. He is a top-class batsman,” Ghavri signed off.