Ever since the IPL was suspended midway through the season, there were constant debates if the IPL should have been held in India in the first place given the rising number of cases in the country.
With the second wave of Covid-19 raging on in the country, it was only a matter of time before the pandemic had this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) in its grip. But the entire situation could have been easily avoided had the BCCI acted upon the IPL governing council’s (GC) proposal.
There were at least four IPL franchises as well that had pushed for the IPL to be shifted to UAE. But the BCCI didn’t pay heed to the proposal despite the fact that the UAE had conducted last year’s IPL successfully in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
The source also informed that UAE was put on standby the week prior to the start of the tournament.
What caused the cancellation
To begin with, it was learned that the IPL GC had proposed that the entire tournament be shifted to the UAE a week prior to the start of the event on April 9. With IPL being such a long-drawn tournament, the GC, headed by Brijesh Patel, feared that things might spiral out of BCCI’s control if the second wave broke out.
Kolkata Knight Riders players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrior were the first to test positive for Covid-19. Later, three members of CSK’s support staff including bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji were also tested positive for Covid-19. Delhi Capitals’ spinner Amit Mishra and Sunrisers Hyderabad’s wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha also contacted Covid-19.
With no crowds in the stadia, it would’ve hardly made any difference to the BCCI, if the tournament had been played in the UAE or India. That the BCCI stands to lose out on nearly 1,500 Crores in a sham they need to deal with.
So the big question is what happens to the remaining IPL schedule?
The remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 will be split into 10 double headers, 7 single headers, and 4 playoffs, which will be fit into the 21-day window the BCCI hopes to create before the ICC T20 World Cup. Recently, there’s been a considerable hassle from the BCCI’s end to cut down on its losses. Phone lines got overworked for the most part of the month as the BCCI and franchise officials worked on the logistics and operations that will be involved. Booking of hotels, re-booking of chartered flights, preparing the stadiums for cricket, building a fresh bio-bubble, and allotting green zones were work in progress.
There is tremendous intent from all stakeholders to complete the IPL, boards are being spoken to. Franchise owners, CEOs have confirmed this news to us. BCCI officials have confirmed off the record.
What happens to the T20 World Cup
The 16-team global tournament has been scheduled to take place in India between mid-October and November 14. However, with India being one of the worst-affected countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament is likely to move to the UAE. If that were to happen, player movement between the IPL and World Cup bubble would be one of BCCI’s biggest advantages. To a lot of stakeholders, the BCCI is taking undue advantage of its might to twist and turn the international calendar at its will. But given the circumstances, all they can do is nod in disbelief.