IPL 2021 remainder may begin from September 15, ICC World T20 could be limited to one city: Sources
The Indian Premier League 2021 remains suspended due to numerous COVID bubble breaches of the participating teams. While the remainder would likely be held in the UAE from September 15, BCCI plans to host the ICC World T20 2021 in just a city.
The much-hyped 2021 Indian Premier League is seemingly on the road to resumption. Just a month after the tournament was postponed indefinitely, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has confirmed that the competition has been moved to the United Arab Emirates.
This month, the tournament was indefinitely suspended after the bubble of four of the sides were breached, with around ten of the participating members testing COVID positive. The caravan-style travelling system was deemed the reason for the same, while the plan was criticised even before the incidents.
With the second wave sweeping the country, the BCCI was in talks with the Maharashtra government to move the tournament to Mumbai, sources indicated. However, the bubbles of the sides were already breached in Ahmedabad and Delhi, leading to the tournament suspension.
Nevertheless, with the tournament now set to be played in UAE, it would be a headache for the BCCI to find a proper window. However, sources have told Asianet Newsable that the likely window for the same is 25 days. "It would be a 25-day window and the remaining matches are likely to be played between September 15-October 10," said the source.
Meanwhile, the BCCI would also be wondering whether to host the upcoming ICC World T20 in India or UAE. In contrast, discussions regarding the same are to be held with the International Cricket Council on June 1, with BCCI seeking time until the end of June to the first week of July to take the final call.
Nonetheless, sources have yet again indicated that the BCCI is willing to host the mega event in India. However, if it is to happen in India, it could be limited to just a city, with Maharashtra being the favourite.
"The biggest challenge for the BCCI would be to convince the parent body of the participating nations if the tournament is to happen in India. Furthermore, to reduce the possibility of the competition receiving an unforeseen setback, the matches could be limited only to a state in the country, rather than having a caravan-style travel system like IPL 2021, which led to the bubbles being breached," said the source.
"As of now, Maharashtra looks like the only viable state capable of hosting the entire WT20 on its own. If it is to happen here, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune would be the preferred cities to host the games, due to the availability of proper world-class grounds and the ease of inter-city travels," added the source.
As for Mumbai, Wankhede and Brabourne Stadium would be the ones to host the games. In Navi Mumbai, the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul is the preferred choice. At the same time, the newly-built Jio Stadium in Ghansoli, with a 10,000 capacity and all the world-class facilities per the ICC guidelines, could make it another viable option.
For Pune, the MCA Stadium is the only venue. Although the travel time between Mumbai/Navi Mumbai is a bit long, around 2.5-3 hours, it is still manageable because the travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai happens to be on the same lines.
However, BCCI's reluctance to host the WT20 in India continues to baffle us since the UAE would already be prepared and set to host the tournament, starting with IPL 2021. Moving the global event to India would lead to logistical challenges again, which would involve setting up fresh bubbles in the hotels, and the participating members will again have to go through the quarantine measures.
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