The Board for Cricket Control in India(BCCI) is set to complete the remaining Indian Premier League(IPL) matches in September-October before the ICC T20 World Cup. The IPL was suspended due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in India. The BCCI has chalked out a plan to conduct the IPL 2021 Phase 2 in United Arab Emirates(UAE).
The Indian Cricket Team will be heading to England to play the final of the World Test Championship(WTC) and test series against the host nation. Their tour will be finishing by September first week, after that the BCCI has a window to conduct the remainder.
The BCCI is currently in talks with the England Cricket Board(ECB) to reduce the gap between the 2nd and 3rd Test of India’s series against England but even if that does not materialise, it will have a 30-day window to play the remaining 31 matches with eight double-headers over four weekends.
IPL 2021 in UAE:
The BCCI has called for a Special General Meeting (SGM) is likely to announce the plans regarding the remaining IPL planning on 29 May. September 15- October 15 is the fixed window to conduct the now-suspended IPL. The dilemma has been over two factors — first the ICC T20 World Cup and the second is India’s 5-match Test series against England.
The ICC T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played from October 18 in India. But if the COVID-19 crisis continues in India, UAE will be the likely destination with ICC taking a call on June 2. But BCCI is still trying to keep the World Cup in India that will see the stadiums in the UAE available for IPL matches.
The other factor, the five-match 41-day Test series between India and England in the UK. There is a nine-day gap between the 2nd and 3rd Test. The 2nd Test starts on August 12-16 and the 3rd from August 25.
A BCCI official stated in a statement- “If that gap can be reduced to four, it will allow BCCI five extra days to make use of. If we can have those extra days eked out from the India-England schedule, then it adds to the window.”
The primary concern is the ICC T20 World Cup. For now, the BCCI believes it won’t be a problem if the IPL 2021 Phase 2 and the World Cup are held at two different venues. As only four teams will be involved in the IPL playoffs, players from the other four can join their respective sides for the ICC T20 World Cup preparations before the playoffs.
“The IPL will, in fact, be the perfect platform to warm up for the ICC event. The ICC is watching this space with keen interest and will not interfere with the logistics as long as it does not conflict with the World Cup window”– BCCI official
BCCI’s plans depend on ICC T20 World Cup to be conducted in India. As the stadiums are to be handed over to the ICC at least 15 days prior to the start of any ICC tournament, there won’t be enough time for the IPL if it was to happen in the UAE. While the third wave of COVID-19 is still a possibility, the BCCI and the ICC will be monitoring the situation and a call will only be taken at a later date. For now, the World Cup stays in India while the IPL 2021 Phase 2 moves to the UAE.