Auckland: New Zealand and Mumbai Indians all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has said that even though teams were travelling through charter flights in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, there was always going to be pinch points.
On May 4, the IPL 2021 season was suspended indefinitely due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases and the foreign players started returning home.
Neesham is currently back in New Zealand and he is undergoing mandatory quarantine period.
“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 pinchpoints there. 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,” Neesham told Newshub.co.nz.
“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,” he added.
Neesham also talked about how he was not expecting the tournament to be postponed even when there were fresh COVID-19 cases within the bio-bubble.
“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. 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,” said Neesham.
“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,” he added.
The Kiwi all-rounder also opined that it would be difficult to resume the postponed season of the IPL in India. He also said that he has already seen plans for moving the T20 World Cup out of India. “If it did start up again, I doubt the IPL would be in India again. 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. 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,” said Neesham.
“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,” he added.