The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to organise the remaining 31 matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the September-October window in the UAE. To be more precise, the tournament is likely to be played tentatively from around September 19-20 to October 9-10. The schedule has been roughly prepared, if the reports are to be believed. But it is not going to be easy for the BCCI given the packed cricketing schedule.
BCCI will have to do a lot of rejigging in other schedules and request other boards to make it so that the IPL is completed this year. One should also give a spare of thought for the team India players who will only get free from the England tour only on September 14 and if IPL goes ahead, will have to leave for UAE the very next day.
But what about the players from other countries? Are they available? How many bilateral series and T20 leagues are set to be played in September and October?
Here we bring you the tournaments/bilateral series which might prove hindrance for IPL 2021:
1. CPL 2021
The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is scheduled to be played from August 28 to September 19 this year. This clearly will affect the availability of the West Indies players who are always on demand in the IPL. The likes of Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer play a crucial role for their respective teams.
Moreover, all these cricketers are a part of the preferred playing XI for their teams and their availability will have a direct impact on the team’s performances. Moreover, the big ticket overseas players like Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Chris Morris are also featuring in the CPL this year.
Even if the Cricket West Indies (CWI) tries to assist the BCCI by rejigging the schedule, they can only end the tournament early around September 15 but can’t start early. West Indies have a bumper international season this time and their last series against Pakistan will only end on August 24.
2. England tour of Bangladesh
ECB’s Director of Cricket, Ashley Giles, has already made it clear that their centrally contracted players won’t be released for the second half of the IPL. The players like Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer (injured), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, are unlikely to play as they are scheduled to tour Bangladesh after the five-match Test series against India ends on September 14.
The itinerary for the Bangladesh tour is not finalised yet but it is definitely going to take place in the September-October window. It will only be a white-ball series and with the T20 World Cup in October set to be played in either India or UAE, ECB is keen on helping their players get acclimatized to the sub-continent conditions.
Even the Bangladesh players, Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan, who played for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL 2021 might not be available if this series goes ahead.
3. England tour of Pakistan
In November last year, ECB and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) together confirmed that England will be touring Pakistan for the first time since 2005. It will certainly be a historic tour as no major country apart from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka has played cricket in Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Lankan team in 2009.
The tour is also ECB’s return of gratitude for Pakistan in a way, as the Men in Green travelled England when the pandemic situation was worse last year. Though the matches were played behind closed doors, ECB could recover and avoid huge losses with all matches of their home season going ahead without any hindrance.
As it stands, England and Pakistan will play two T20Is on October 14 and 15. But the tour could be preponed given the fact that the T20 World Cup will commence either in India or UAE around that period itself. This will lead to the series being played during the IPL. Simply put, if England players are to play the IPL, their tour of Bangladesh and Pakistan will either become low key or will be cancelled which doesn’t look a possibility right now.
4. New Zealand tour of Pakistan/UAE
New Zealand cricketers don’t have a hectic international schedule generally. One would expect them to be available for the IPL. But if the Future Tour Program (FTP) is taken into consideration, even the Kiwis are scheduled to face Pakistan for a limited-overs series.
The two teams are slated to face each other in three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals. New Zealand’s first XI players involved in the IPL are – Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Seifert, James Neesham, Trent Boult. Again, the itinerary for this tour is not finalised and it is still not clear if New Zealand will tour Pakistan or the series will be played in the UAE.
Moreover, New Zealand are also scheduled to tour India but recently it was reported that it has been cancelled to accommodate IPL and the prevailing situation due to COVID in the country. The report also stated that team India will play more matches when they tour the Kiwi nation next time.
5. Afghanistan vs Pakistan in UAE
The pandemic has affected nations like Afghanistan and Ireland more as they were looking forward to play more international cricket to grow and improve. But if looked carefully, these two teams have played very less cricket in the last 18 months or so.
Afghanistan is looking to host Pakistan in the UAE for a white-ball series in September for a white-ball series. This will definitely coincide with the current tentative schedule of the IPL.
Their two big players, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, are a part of SRH in the T20 extravaganza and especially former, plays a huge role for the franchise with his leg-spin bowling. Given all these challenges, BCCI will have to do a lot of rejigging in the schedule and with the boards to make the IPL happen.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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