IPL to have simultaneous games on last day of league stage

For the first time, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is going to experiment with two matches played simultaneously at different venues. This will take place on the last day of the league stage of the ongoing tournament.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has agreed to such a request from official broadcaster Star India. The Indian Express understands that the board discussed the matter during the IPL Governing Council meeting a few days ago where a decision was taken to go ahead with the idea.

Hence, on the last day of the league stage of the ongoing season, instead of one afternoon match and one evening game, two matches will be held at the same time in the evening at two venues.

The rationale behind Star’s request is the lower TRP of afternoon games.

“In a first for the IPL, the last two league matches before the VIVO IPL 2021 Playoffs will be played concurrently. On the last day of the league stage (08.10.2021) of the ongoing season, instead of having one afternoon match and one evening match, two matches (SRH v MI and RCB v DC) will be played simultaneously at 7.30 PM IST (6.00 PM GST),” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a press release.

A BCCI official later revealed that broadcasters aren’t getting high TRP (Television Rating Points) for afternoon matches.

“The official broadcaster had asked BCCI whether they can have two games simultaneously in two different venues. The broadcasters have informed us that TRP for afternoon games is less compared to evening games. The BCCI can experiment with having two games simultaneously. As Star has multiple channels under their banner, they can provide live telecast of two games smoothly. So, BCCI has agreed to the request,” the board official told The Indian Express.

It is learnt that BCCI will take feedback from Star after the two games about the TRP generated. As the board is planning to have two new IPL teams next year, this could help it to conduct more games in fewer days. Till now, the BCCI had few double headers in the IPL, which made it tough for the cricketers given the harsh Indian summers.

“This could help us in our scheduling going ahead, as two new teams means more games. The BCCI will decide if such norms can be continued ahead,” the official added.

Cuba becomes first country to vaccinate toddlers against Covid

HAVANA: Cuba on Monday became the first country in the world to vaccinate children from the age of two against Covid-19, using home-grown jabs not recognized by the World Health Organization.

The communist island of 11.2 million people aims to inoculate all its children before reopening schools that have been closed for the most part since March 2020.

The new school year started on Monday, but from home via television programs, as most Cuban homes do not have internet access.

Having completed clinical trials on minors with its Abdala and Soberana vaccines, Cuba kicked off its inoculation campaign for children on Friday, starting with those 12 and older.

On Monday, it started distributing jabs in the 2-11 age group in the central province of Cienfuegos.

Several other countries in the world are vaccinating children from the age of 12, and some are conducting trials in younger kids.

Countries such as China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela have announced they plan to vaccinate younger children, but Cuba is the first to do so.

Chile on Monday approved the Chinese Sinovac vaccines for children between six and 12.

The Cuban vaccines, the first developed in Latin America, have not undergone international, scientific peer review.

They are based on recombinant protein technology — the same used by the United States´ Novavax and France´s Sanofi jabs also awaiting WHO approval.

Unlike many other shots in use, recombinant vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration.

The majority of schools in Cuba have been closed since March 2020, reopening for a few weeks at the end of last year before closing again in January.

The government has announced schools will reopen gradually, in October and November, but only after all children have been vaccinated.

UN agency UNICEF has called for schools worldwide to reopen as soon as possible, as “the long-term costs of closures are too high and hard to justify.”

Cuba has seen an explosion in coronavirus infections in recent months, putting pressure on its health system.

Of the 5,700 coronavirus deaths recorded since the outbreak started, nearly half were in the last month alone, as were almost a third of all reported cases.