Ninjas in Pyjamas cuts Universe due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

Ninjas in Pyjamas has released Saahil "Universe" Arora from its roster. The departure of the former The International champion came after NiP’s decision to restructure the team due to the recent shift to online regional leagues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reshuffle aims to ensure continued practice and competition for the team.

"We'll keep searching for the right lineup, with the right combination of hunger, skill and winner mentality, while further applying our own vision of performance culture to it. DotA2 is a game and community we believe a lot in, and we're excited to see what the future brings, with all the potential changes coming," NiP COO Jonas Gundersen said on NiP's official website.

Universe is best known for playing a key role in Evil Geniuses' success at The International 2015. Red Bull regarded him as the tournament’s MVP for his consistent and exceptional performance.

Universe was an asset to NiP. Despite having to grapple with the returns of OG and Team Secret, NiP grew stronger as the season progressed, with Universe being the only constant alongside Peter "ppd" Dager. Despite this, the team was able to earn tickets to huge tournaments,with Universe's last appearance with the team being a successful qualification for the ESL One Los Angeles Major.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of the esports scene. There are several travel restrictions and health precautions to combat the outbreak. This has translated into live events being transformed into online regional leagues and teams being forced to compete with substitutes regularly.

NiP told fans that the new normal forced the organization to reevaluate the team composition. A regionalized approach will be more beneficial for the team. Despite this, the team continues to retain the services of Brazilian player Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos, who has not been able to compete with the team.

NiP is now competing at ESL One Los Angeles online league. The team has Milan "MiLAN" Kozomara and Evgeniy "Blizzy" Ree playing in the event as substitutes.