BCCI has reportedly kept UAE on standby as the backup venue for IPL 2021 auction in case it fails to host the league in India due to COVID-19 like previous year.
The date for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 auction is out but the franchises are still not 100% sure when it comes to devising their strategies for the bidding war.
BCCI Yet To Finalize IPL 2021 Venue Which Is Likely To Be Taken After Mini Auction On February 18
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to finalise the venue where the extravagant T20 league will be held. Though the COVID-19 situation in India seems to be well under control, the board has reportedly kept UAE as the back-up venue if they are forced to take the league abroad just like last season.
Quite a few franchises faced difficulties in terms of fielding an ideal XI in UAE as the conditions at the three venues in the Middle Eastern country- Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah differed from their designated home venues, based on which the franchises had built their teams.
Particularly Chennai Super Kings seems to have been hurt the most as they couldn’t field spinners like Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner in the XI, while the former was one of their main players bagging purple cap by taking most wickets when the IPL 2019 was held in India. As per a report in the Times of India, the BCCI is open to organizing the league in UAE again, having had all logistics in place, though the preference remains India.
“A call on the venue is likely to be taken after the mini-auction on Feb 18. BCCI is looking at all options. Hosting the IPL in India is always the priority but the logistics need to be checked. UAE is still an option since the logistics are more or less in place there. BCCI had also signed an MoU and hosting agreement with the Emirates Cricket Board in September,” a senior BCCI official told TOI.
The previous edition- IPL 2020 was originally scheduled to commence on 29 March 2020, but was suspended until 15 April due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Later, BCCI suspended the tournament indefinitely.
On 2 August 2020, it was announced that the tournament would be played between 19 September and 10 November 2020 in the United Arab Emirates. Mumbai Indians were the defending champions and they successfully defended their title following a 5 wicket win over Delhi Capitals in the final on 10 November 2020.
BCCI: UAE Is Still Very Much An Option
After a great opening season in 2008, IPL was ready to consolidate its success in 2009 but the BCCI was faced with an uphill challenge. It was the year of the general election and holding a tournament of the scale of IPL alongside the elections was an impossible task, especially in terms of ensuring security. So, the tournament was shifted to the Rainbow Nation, South Africa in 2009.
IPL had to move out of India five years later in 2014 as it clashed with the general elections yet again. BCCI though was able to create a two-phase tournament which allowed the business end of the tournament to be played in India. The initial phase was played in UAE over three venues. Unlike IPL 2014, IPL 2020 was held fully in UAE.
“Franchises have historically picked squads based on the conditions they are going to play in. As of now, nothing has been ruled out. UAE is still very much an option. BCCI is yet to communicate with the franchises about the venues,” a senior franchise official told TOI.
As per the report, the BCCI will take the final call on the venue with regards to the venue after the auction is completed on February 18. In terms of the Covid-19 risk, the board will have a better idea as to which direction the country is headed when it comes to controlling the pandemic.