The indefinite suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) has thrown all plans of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) out of the window. Despite the supposedly strict regulations, protocols and bio-bubbles which were employed during the tournament, more than 5 positive cases of the virus were reported leaving the board no choice to indefinitely postpone the whole tournament.
Now, the focus of the BCCI has been to get all players back home safely. However, there are a lot of other issues which are bound to be running through their minds. With the World Test Championship (WTC) final coming up, the squad announcement and approval from the UK government will be one such. The conducting of the ICC T20 World Cup later this year would be another one.
Finishing the remainder of IPL 2021 would also be a key issue. With the international schedule proving to be tight as ever, the only possibility will be to hold it just before the T20 World Cup in September. BCCI officials have hinted at the same, but with the whole country in such a dire situation, it remains to be seen as to how and where it will take place.
BCCI officials discuss three potential venues for remainder of IPL 2021
A BCCI official reportedly spoke to The Times of India and revealed that three venues – UAE, UK and Australia are being considered to hold the remainder of IPL 2021 in September. “It has to be played overseas. Certain suggestions have already been heard. The BCCI just has to make up its mind. A new destination will infuse freshness into the league and that itself will attract viewership. England and Australia are good options,” they reportedly said.
Further, according to ANI, various English counties have already reached out to the BCCI and offered to host. Sri Lanka have also done the same. “Yes, we can certainly provide a window to host the IPL in the month of September. We hear the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is their one option but Sri Lanka can not be ignored for all reasons,” said an official of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, according to Cricwire.
About the prospect of holding the tournament in the UAE, the official said, “If the World Cup is shifted, the whole scheduling will get re-worked anyway. Weather will be a problem because September remains a very hot month and UAE only begins to cool down October onwards.” On England, “The weather will be good for cricket. It will suit the broadcaster too because time zones can be adjusted and overseas players from outside of India and England will be willing to travel,” they added.
Finally on Australia, “Cricket Australia certainly won’t mind this exchange if their government allows. And since international players will anyway arrive there for the World Cup, Perth – which is three-and-half-hours ahead of Indian Standard Time – can host Phase-2 to cater to Indian prime-time,” the source said.
While a decision on the same might arrive late, it seems almost certain that the remainder of IPL 2021 won’t be held in India.