New restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government, between 8 pm and 7 am starting Sunday evening to stop the spread of Covid-19, will not affect the upcoming cricket matches played under lights in Pune and Mumbai.
India plays England in the third ODI on Sunday in Pune, while Mumbai will host 10 IPL games of the 2021 season.
New rules, in place till April 15, forbids the gathering of five or more people. Officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were unsure if the four IPL teams stationed in Mumbai could practice and play.
They were also unclear if the final ODI could be held on Sunday.
However, a top government official confirmed to The Indian Express that the cricket games played behind closed doors and related activity, including travel of teams, were exempt because players and other staff were in a bio-bubble.
“There is no gathering anywhere (for the games). The matches will be allowed without the audience and without any contact with anybody (those outside the bio-bubble),” Aseem Gupta, secretary of the Relief and Rehabilitation, said.
IPL’s night matches will start at 7.30 pm, which was a concern for BCCI officials as the restrictions would begin half an hour later. A top BCCI official said they were weighing options to move the teams to another state if the restrictions would have affected the games.
Four IPL teams are stationed in Mumbai. Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings will train and play games at the Wankhede Stadium.
The IPL is scheduled to start in Chennai on April 9 and the first game in Mumbai will be on April 10, between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals.
According to latest reports, 166 deaths and 35,726 cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Maharashtra on Saturday.
“All public places including gardens and beaches will remain closed during the same period and violators will be fined with Rs 1,000 per person. Not wearing a face mask will attract Rs 500 fine while the same is Rs 1,000 for public spitting,” as per the order.