The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced last week that the Indian Premier League (IPL) has found a venue and a window. The T20 league’s remaining 31 matches is likely to be played in the UAE between Sept 17 and Oct 10. The board will put in place the same protocols and standard operating procedures that were drafted for the 2020 edition. The board will also work with franchises on making the players available. In cases players are not available, the board will hear “requests” from franchises to allot suitable replacements.
While the IPL has been moved, the BCCI has refrained from taking any decisions on the T20 World Cup for now. Post June, depending on the Covid situation, the board will take another call on whether to work with the ICC on hosting the World Cup in India or shifting that to the UAE. Sources say the BCCI is working on both possibilities – of having it in India and shifting it to the UAE – for now, while also working on tax-related matters concerning the International Cricket Council (ICC).
However, during last week, as the BCCI went about finalising the proposal made by its interim CEO Hemang Amin – who insisted the IPL must be held in the UAE – other stakeholders in Indian cricket are “cribbing” over not being taken into confidence before arriving at the decision. The BCCI did not communicate with the franchises before making the announcement to shift the IPL while members who attended the SGM say “the decision was pretty much taken even before the meeting began. It was more a monologue than a dialogue”.
In the coming weeks, the responsibility will once again be of the franchises to arrange the logistics of bringing the overseas players to the UAE, the way it had turned out to be when these players had to return to their respective countries after the IPL was called off mid-way in the beginning of May.
The IPL window is unlikely to get into conflict with any major bilateral between September and October. However, with England and Australia already setting their sights on the Ashes towards the end of the year, it is likely that franchises heavily dependent on players from these two countries could take a beating. “That’s what most of us are wary of, the availability of English and Aussie cricketers. If there are players who decide not to travel for whatever reasons, adequate replacements will have to be sought,” franchises tracking developments said.
The Caribbean Premier League (CPL), scheduled to conclude by the second week of September, will also be “tweaked” in a manner that it does not spill over into the IPL window. Franchises who had made their respective hotel reservations in the UAE during the 2020 edition have once again started negotiating on the same lines. The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), that was paid a lump sum amount in the bracket of £10 million last year to host the entire IPL, will once again be paid pro-rata.