The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League(IPL 2021) was suspended mid-way due to Covid-19, but the most celebrated league is set to return in style. The remainder will be held in September-October in the UAE. The decision was taken by the Board of Cricket Control in Indian(BCCI) at a special general body meeting held virtually on Saturday.
The BCCI has earmarked the start date of the IPL tentatively for September 20, after they had narrowed down on a window between September 18 and October 12 in internal meetings recently. They have also decided to seek an extension from the ICC to take an appropriate call on hosting the men’s T20 World Cup, originally scheduled in India between mid-October and November 14.
Roadblocks in IPL 2021:
There are several hurdles that the BCCI faces in the limited window for the remainder of the IPL 2021. Firstly, India’s five-match Test series in England is scheduled to end on September 14 in Manchester. Within a week after that, England is scheduled to travel to Bangladesh followed by Pakistan for the white-ball series. More than a dozen of England’s top white-ball players feature in the IPL which will leave many franchises anxious about their unavailability.
The other key challenge is the CPL 2021, which will be held between August 28 and September 19. A lot of the top Caribbean players and many other big-name overseas players and coaching staff are involved in the CPL. While the BCCI has opened a dialogue with the CPL to try and convince them to tweak their schedule, which could then allow players to move between the bubbles to UAE quickly, though it will not be an easy task to do so.
This is what the BCCI official had to say regarding the IPL 2021- “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced to complete the remaining matches of VIVO Indian Premier League 2021 season in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year.”
At the time the IPL was suspended, there were still 31 matches, including the four playoffs, left to be played. With India continuing to be in the middle of the second wave of Covid-19, there were strong doubts about India hosting the second half of the IPL. This will be the second successive year the UAE will be hosting the IPL.
In 2020 the BCCI had conducted the entire tournament split between Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. Those three venues are likely to play hosts once again after the BCCI finalizes the dates for the IPL, which remains its primary challenge now that it has announced the September-October window.
BCCI and ICC are still in talks regarding the ICC World T20, which was postponed last year due to Covid-19. The ICC has been clear that the window for the T20 World Cup, cannot be changed. The ICC would also want the BCCI to take a call on whether the 16-team T20 World Cup, already postponed once last year, can be hosted in India or should it also be moved to the UAE, which was nominated as the backup venue.