IPL 2022 to be played in South Africa?
The IPL 2022 is likely to be played in April-June. Meanwhile, the venue is yet to be finalised, with the COVID third wave in India making things uncertain. South Africa and Sri Lanka are being considered as back-ups.
The build-up to the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 is undoubtedly underway, as things are shaping ahead of the mega auction. The 15th edition of the cash-rich domestic Twenty20 (T20) tournament is tentatively scheduled to be played in April-May. However, the venue of IPL 2022 remains undecided, while South Africa and Sri Lanka are in the fray.
Notably, India has not entirely hosted the IPL since 2020 due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. While IPL 2020 was held simply in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), IPL 2021 was partially conducted in India before a COVID outbreak in the bubble forced a six-month break, and the tournament remainder concluded in the UAE. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) expressed its desire about having IPL 2022 wholly in India.
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However, India is currently under the third wave, especially the new COVID variant Omicron. Consequently, the BCCI has been forced to keep backup venues ready. Interestingly, UAE has not been discussed as a possible venue for IPL 2022. Instead, reports suggest that it could be South Africa or even Sri Lanka.
According to a BCCI official quoting to The Indian Express, the board is reluctant to rely on UAE every time and wants to consider other options. South Africa's timing working perfectly in favour of the Indians serves as a justified venue. Notably, SA had already hosted the tournament back in 2009.
Furthermore, with India currently touring South Africa, the players have expressed their satisfaction with accommodation arrangements, even inside the bio-bubble. Staying at the Irene Country Lodge in Johannesburg and the Taj Hotel in Cape Town has been a relaxing experience for the Indians. The official stated that jogging tracks and a pond in the resorts made life relaxing for the players, unlike the usual bubble, where they were confined to their hotel rooms.
Also, Lanka could be considered a backup, with the country being close neighbours of India and suitable timing. At the same time, the resorts there are also peaceful for bubble life, like in South Africa. The IPL 2022 will be longer than usual with a couple of new teams (Ahmedabad and Lucknow).