IPL 2021: England might pip UAE to host remainder of IPL, deliberations to finalise ongoing
England, the UAE and Sri Lanka are the options on the BCCI's plate to host the remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021.
Unfortunately, as it may be, it was inevitable for the IPL to be disrupted as COVID-19 ravaged - and continues to - through India. The cricket crazy country touched 400,000 daily COVID-19 cases on April 30, 2021 - a number that was unforeseen by the BCCI. They would certainly not have come up with a schedule that required the franchises to travel to several venues across the country had the situation been even half as horrible when the fixtures were finalised.
The first leg of the tournament, played parallelly at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, went well. But, as the teams travelled by chartered flights to the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad and the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, the bio-secure bubble did not remain secure any longer. As it turned out, 29 matches were through by the time the bubble was breached.
Delhi rule the roost
If no more IPL cricket was to be seen this year, the trophy would probably go to the Delhi Capitals who sit atop the points table with six wins from eight matches.
Similarly, the Orange Cap would go to Shikhar Dhawan who scored 380 runs from eight matches at an average of 54.28 and a strike rate of 134.27. KL Rahul, Faf du Plessis and Prithvi Shaw are the other batsmen to have scored in excess of 300 runs.
Harshal Patel is leading the Purple Cap charts with 17 scalps from seven matches. Chris Morris and Avesh Khan have also done exceedingly well for their franchises.
But, the facts are that 31 matches still remain and despite the hectic international schedule for the remaining year, including the T20 World Cup in October-November and various bilateral affairs, it would be naive to think that the BCCI and the IPL governing body will not do everything in their power to ensure that IPL 2021 runs its course. If you were to bet on the remaining games going ahead at https://casinobetting.live/in/ipl-betting-apps/ you would get some good odds on Delhi Capitals going all the way.
Remainder of IPL 2021 not in India
After the BCCI has ensured that all the involved players, support staff and commentators reach home safely via arrangements paid for by them, the board is now channelling all its energies towards the conduction of the remaining IPL games.
As of now, England, the UAE and Sri Lanka are in the race to host the IPL after BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed that the second installment of the tournament will not be played in India.
“India is supposed to go to Sri Lanka for three ODIs and five T20Is. There are lots of organisational hazards like 14-day quarantine. It can’t happen in India. This quarantine is tough to handle. Too early to say how we can find a slot to complete the IPL,” Ganguly said, clearing the air on IPL's resumption in India.
While the 14-day quarantine logic may not hold water as the players will have to quarantine anywhere in the world the BCCI decides to host the IPL, be it in England, the UAE or elsewhere, what's important is the direction in which the BCCI is looking to proceed.
England frontrunners, followed by the UAE
As things stand, England and the UAE are the frontrunners for hosting the IPL. The BCCI has summoned its Special General Meeting (SGM) on May 29 virtually in which a decision regarding the future of the IPL and the T20 World Cup is expected.
People in the know of the developments state that England is the leading option for hosting the reminder of the IPL at the moment. The simple fact that the cream of the Indian players will be in the country from June till mid - September is what goes in England's favour.
The inaugural edition of the Men's Hundred is set to be played between July 22 and August 21 as well and most of the leading players from around the world are also expected to be in the country.
Warwickshire, Surrey and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have already offered to host the remaining 31 matches of the league after IPL 2021 was indefinitely postponed by the BCCI on May 4.
If reports are to be believed, the BCCI and the ECB are in talks of tweaking the five-match test series between India and England, originally slated to start on August 4 and wrap up by September 14, to accommodate the IPL.
What goes in UAE's favour?
The next option on the BCCI's plate is holding the remainder of the IPL in the UAE, which the country did without a hiccup in 2020. Apart from the experience of hosting a tournament of the scale of the IPL, which has several moving parts and having the setup and the blueprint in place for the same, that the players of all the leading nations might assemble in the country should the T20 World Cup be shifted from India, is another strong point for the UAE.
However, given that the qualifying round for the event is set to commence a couple of weeks before the main tournament, playing the IPL there will take a toll on the pitches of the leading venues like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Arjuna de Silva, chief of SLC's managing committee, has also offered to host the reminder of IPL 2021 and that option can't be completely ruled out either.
© Cricket World 2021