The much-awaited Special General Meeting, headed by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, took place on May 29, 2021 with the primary focus of deciding on the fate of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. On expected lines, the apex cricket body in India has announced that the remainder of IPL 2021 would be held in UAE in the September-October window. It is noteworthy that the official dates have not been announced yet.
In an official media release, BCCI has stated that the South-West monsoon in the said months in India is the reason for the change in venue of the tournament. Under such circumstances, UAE would host the tournament for the second consecutive year. Most probably, the tournament would be held in the same three cities where it was held in 2020, namely Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“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. The decision was taken at a Special General Meeting (SGM) held virtually, where members unanimously agreed to resume IPL.” the BCCI stated in a media advisory.
IPL 2021 had to be called off mid-way after several cases were being reported across different bio-bubbles. A total of 29 games were held before the remaining games were postponed to a later date. As of now, Delhi Capitals lead the points table with 6 wins in 8 games, followed by CSK, RCB and MI at the second, third and fourth position respectively.
While the BCCI has announced the September-October window to conduct the remainder of IPL, it is of course easier said than done to schedule the games considering the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) and Caribbean Premier League (CPL) taking place roughly during the same time.
Problems concerning rescheduling of IPL 2021
Conducting the remainder of IPL 2021 was perhaps on expected lines. However, BCCI is yet to announce the exact dates for the tournament. The major reason being the non-availability of foreign players during the September-October window.
Top cricket playing countries like Australia and England don’t seem to be willing to send their players to participate in the remaining games. The director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Ashley Giles had earlier stated that they won’t allow any player to play the remaining games, keeping in mind the upcoming T20 World Cup and the Ashes.
England is packed with international assignments throughout the year and even if they decide to rest their players in some tours, they won’t be allowing them to play cricket during that period. On the other hand, Australia also doesn’t look too pleased about sending their players. Their status on the same, however, is yet to be ascertained.
The Indian team would play a total of six Test matches in England between June and September this year. The players will be hard-pressed for time considering the short window during which the IPL is expected to take place. They also have to participate in the T20 World Cup expected to be held in October-November 2021.
Moreover, the West Indies players and some top foreign players involved in CPL 2021 might join late as the final of CPL 2021 would be played on September 19. The BCCI has hinted that they would request the West Indies Cricket Board to prepone the league so that the players involved in IPL would reach UAE on time. However, it is unlikely to happen as the home season in the Caribbean ends on August 24, four days before the start of CPL.
As many as 31 games are still left to be played in IPL 2021. Amidst so many concerns to be sorted out, it remains to be seen how BCCI conducts the tournament and makes sure most of the foreign players involved participate in the tournament.
T20 World Cup venue yet to be finalised
India is currently battling the second wave of COVID-19. There have been indications that the third wave of COVID-19 would arrive later this year. Under such circumstances, it would be difficult to conduct the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in India.
BCCI hasn’t yet come to a conclusion on whether India would be able to conduct the tournament or not. In its media release, the board has sought an extension of time from the ICC to take a call on hosting the tournament. However, there is a rumor that, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad are the venues where BCCI would like to hold T20 World Cup if goes as per the planning.
“The BCCI SGM further authorised the Office Bearers to seek an extension of time from the ICC to take an appropriate call on the hosting of ICC T20 World Cup 2021,” the BCCI stated.