The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council decided to suspend the 14th edition of the tournament on Tuesday. They had to take such a huge step after KKR players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for Covid-19, apart from that, CSK team CEO Kasi Viswanathan, bowling coach Lakshimpathy Balaji and one of the members of the service staff was tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, uncertainty is looming over the players over whether IPL will resume soon or not and if yes, then whether there will be any change in venues’ As per reports, BCCI officials have said that IPL 2021 stands postponed and not canceled. A new date for the tournament is expected to be decided by next week, once clearance is obtained to shift the entire tournament to Mumbai. The teams will remain inside the bio-bubble, the report claims. However, the cricket board is also considering September as a window to complete the remaining fixtures of the tournament.
However, the reports of shooting the remaining games to Mumbai have been raising eyebrows as Maharashtra is already affected by the second wave of coronavirus. Going by the reports of ESPNCricinfo, the BCCI is having the talks of shifting the remaining games of the season entirely to Mumbai and push the final of the tournament from May 30 to early June.
For now, only one or two doubleheaders are held every week in the IPL 2021 but if the tournament resumes, the matches will be rescheduled and a lot of double-headers will also be added to finish the season on time.
The biggest challenge for the BCCI will be to make an airtight IPL bubble in Mumbai, which mainly entails finding hotels for the eight teams to be housed in and preparing the stadia. Luckily, in terms of match fitness, all the three key venues in Mumbai – Wankhede, DY Patil, and Brabourne – were utilized by the teams earlier this month. While the Wankhede hosted 10 IPL matches, the other two grounds, and the Mumbai Cricket Association’s ground in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, was used by various teams for training purposes.
However, as per the quotes in Cricbuzz, IPL Chairman Birjesh Patel had sad, “A September window is being considered. By then, the England-India series would be over and the foreign player would be ready for the T20 WC. That small window is being explored. Now we have to look for a window. If we get one, we will explore holding it. We’ll have to see if it is possible in September. We need to examine the plans of the ICC and other boards.”
If the IPL is stretched beyond May 30, it will be impacting the World Test Championship final as well, which is scheduled to be played between India and New Zealand in Southampton from June 18-22. One BCCI official, though, pointed out that moving the IPL to Mumbai could offer the advantage of the Indian and New Zealand players flying direct to England, intense od their two-layer journey from Ahmedabad.