The BCCI has suspended the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) indefinitely with positive COVID-19 cases inside the bubble. It all started with Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) testing positive for the virus. It was followed by CSK bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji and a bus cleaner contracting the virus.
Even as the BCCI was thinking to shift the tournament to Mumbai, Wriddhiman Saha of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Amit Mishra of Delhi Capitals (DC) also returned positive results. This led to the board taking a tough decision to suspend the tournament indefinitely. However, all is not lost for the cricket fans and the BCCI as they can explore multiple windows to finish the tournament.
Here we bring you three possible windows BCCI can target to resume IPL 2021:
1. Shift IPL to Mumbai and resume after a 10-day break
BCCI was exploring this option after positive cases detected in KKR and CSK camp. It was reported that the board was thinking to shift the tournament to Mumbai entirely and organise it in the three stadiums in the city. Well, this option could still be explored, but after a 10-day break which is significant when it comes to ending the quarantine period for all the teams.
This will also give time for the BCCI to create a bubble in Mumbai and once all the players test negative for COVID-19, they can be safely moved to the respective bubbles again. Yes, they will need some stringent measures to follow and moreover, they will need to assure all the players of safety again.
In terms of shifting IPL to Mumbai, a part of the first leg was played in the city without any hindrances and the cases have become less now with almost a complete lockdown-like measures in Mumbai and Maharashtra at the moment. While this will take some courage for the BCCI to resume IPL soon, this option can be explored.
2. Postpone WTC Final to July and finish IPL in June in UAE
Another very good option for the BCCI to finish the IPL will be in June this year. However, this will need some doing as the World Test Championship (WTC) is set to be played between India and New Zealand from June 18. BCCI will have to consult the ICC and convince them to postpone the final to maybe July.
Problems don’t end here. Pakistan Super League (PSL) has identified a window from June 1 to June 20 to finish the tournament which was postponed due to COVID outbreak inside in the bubble in February. However, IPL can still go ahead as not many overseas players are in common among IPL and PSL. The players who have been picked in both the tournaments can be given an options to choose which competition they are willing to play.
But again, this will need a proper co-ordination of the BCCI with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as well and then agree on some terms. Most importantly, the IPL can be shifted to the UAE where the last season was played successfully. After fulfilling all conditions, IPL can safely resume in June in a new bubble in the UAE.
3. Organise IPL in UAE just before T20 World Cup in October
BCCI can realistically think about this window. India’s tour of England is set to end on September 14 where both teams will face each other in five-match Test series. The WTC Final between India and New Zealand will end on June 22. Most probably, team India won’t be returning home as the Test series against England will start on August 4.
The Indian board can consult with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and prepone the Test series to maybe mid-June. India, in that case, will still get around three weeks of time to prepare for the series with intra-squad warm-up matches. Also, the Test series can end by the third week of August.
This will give a big window for the BCCI to organise the rest of the IPL as there is not much cricket to be played among international teams from August until the T20 World Cup which is likely to commence in mid-October. After what happened in the IPL bubbles, the ICC event might not be played in India and could get shifted to the UAE.
Similarly, BCCI can stage the rest of the IPL to the UAE and finish it off around a couple of weeks before the T20 World Cup so that all the players can shift from one bubble to another for the marquee event. With UAE having the experience of organising tournament under stringent measures, this can be done.
But again, like other options, this will also need a lot of approvals and most importantly, BCCI will have to co-ordinate with the ECB to prepone the Test series between India and England.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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