Following a new increase in Covid-19 cases in India and the looming danger of the Omicron form, the Under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy, which was set to commence in January 2022, has been postponed. The key reason for the delay, according to a letter read by ESPNcricinfo from BCCI secretary Jay Shah, is that “participants are still not vaccinated and as such, are susceptible,” since individuals under the age of 18 are still not eligible to take the vaccination in the country.

“We have been carefully following the situation in India and throughout the globe,” Shah said in the letter, “and it is projected that the caseload would rocket up in the near future if the problem is not managed soon.” “After consulting specialists and soliciting input from the medical and operations teams, it has been agreed that the U16 Vijay Merchant Trophy would be postponed for this season for the sake of health and safety. We must be cautious and not take risks that might jeopardize the health of our great players.”

India reported 13,154 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of current cases to 82,402. In July, the BCCI said that it was sure that all events, including those for different age groups and women, would be held this season.

“We had said ahead of the domestic season that we would attempt to have a complete season across all age categories,” the letter continued. “We got off to a good start and are now halfway through the season with 748 matches finished when we ran into another severe problem. The instances throughout India are spiralling, and despite a big percentage of people being double vaccinated, they have still been affected.”

The event was set to take place at four locations throughout Agartala and Guwahati from January 9 to 21.