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BCCI postpones U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy after surge in COVID-19 cases

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Mumbai, Dec 31 (IANS) The BCCI on Thursday postponed the Under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy, which was scheduled to begin in January 2022, following the recent surge in the COVID-19 cases in India and the growing threat of the Omicron variant.

In a letter to the affiliated units of BCCI, the Indian cricket board’s secretary Jay Shah said that the domestic cricket had started off well, with the completion of 748 matches till date, however, the sudden spike in cases has forced the board to postpone its junior tournament.

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On Thursday, India reported 13,154 new COVID-19 cases, the number of active cases stands at 82,402.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation in India and across the world, and it is estimated that the caseload will shoot up in the immediate future if the situation is not controlled now,” Shah wrote in the letter.

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“After consulting experts and seeking views of the medical teams and operations team, it has been decided that keeping health and safety in mind, the U16 Vijay Merchant Trophy is postponed for this season,” he added.

The 33-year old Shah also mentioned that the primary reason for the postponement is that the participants are still not vaccinated and as such, are vulnerable. The BCCI does’t want to take any risks with its junior cricketers.

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“We must exercise caution and not be adventurous and put the health of our talented cricketers at grave risk,” he pointed out.

The BCCI announced in July that it was confident that all tournaments, including those for various age groups and women, will be played this season.

“Ahead of the domestic season, we had said that we will endeavour to have a full season across age groups,” he wrote further.

“We started off well and are now mid-way into the season having completed 748 matches when we have again encountered a serious issue. The cases across India are spiralling and despite being a large number of adults doubly vaccinated, they have still been infected,” he added.

The tournament was scheduled to be played between January 9 to 21, in four venues across Agartala and Guwahati.

–IANS

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