IPL 2021: When and Where? Possible Scenarios Explored

IPL 2021: When and Where can it possibly start again?
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Sports Expert, Chi Dubey

Last updated on 7th May 2021

Published: 07/05/2021

Categories: Cricket, News, Opinion

The Indian Premier League is postponed indefinitely as the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to host the tournament in India at this point in time. Players are returning home as Indian cricket fans prepare for a long pause before the international tours begin again.

As the events unfold, the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) is left picking up the pieces. Its president Sourav Ganguly has implied that the failure to complete the IPL 2021 may lead to a potential loss of Rs. 2,500 crore.

Consequently,  there are speculations that the tournament could be hosted just before the T20 World Cup in October.

As things stand, India is set to host the World Cup but in light of the pandemic, the ICC is contemplating moving the location to the UAE.

This leaves BCCI to deal with a massive reshuffling and quite a bit of planning, especially if it wants to avoid the loss.

What’s the Ask?

31 matches including the playoffs and the final were left in the IPL before it was halted. These many games could be sorted in two to three weeks with many double-header fixtures between a handful of venues.

The challenges here are the following:

  • Accommodating the league in an already packed calendar
  • Ensuring the presence of international players in the squads
  • Hosting venue and bio bubbles

We at Bet India explore both possibilities below.

Scenario 1: Late September – Mid October

If we are to go by the rumour mills on the internet, the BCCI is looking to carry out its star tournament after the end of the India-England Test Series in England.

India will finish its final test on September 14. This leaves them with a little over a month before the World Cup starts from sometime in mid-October.

Challenge:

Keep in mind that India would have been on a long tour by then and would definitely need some resting time before the big World Cup showdown. Taking into account the quarantine periods and warm-ups, this gives us a two-week window realistically to play the IPL matches.

Priorities will be a real bother, especially when there is a bigger prize at stake in the form of the elusive World Cup trophy. Indian players would want to conserve their energy and form for the big cup rather than a domestic tournament.

Secondly, many England stars who form a big part of the IPL may not be available as England has its own series against Pakistan and Bangladesh. Other international games will be in play too.

Scenario 2: Post World Cup

Should the other plan not pan out, BCCI will look to resume the league after the World Cup, sometime in late November.

Challenge:

The biggest challenge here is the availability of players. England and Australia will be involved in the Ashes Series, taking away a bulk of the overseas talent. India too are likely to host New Zealand in November-December. Then there are other bilateral series between Bangladesh and Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

One way to address this would be to tap into other international players and have them fill in the void. That should not be difficult given that IPL is the most popular league in the world and many players have expressed a keen desire to play here.

But this will have to be implemented in unison with deferral of the New Zealand Series.

An unlikely scenario also presents itself wherein we may see the remaining of the Indian Premier League 2021 matches play out in 2022. But that seems a bit unrealistic since it would be more feasible to just start afresh in April with the new season.

What about the venue?

There is still a lot to be done to resume the IPL, including deciding on a location. While nothing is confirmed yet, the United Arab Emirates looks like a feasible option.

For one, it did host the IPL last year without any dramas or breach of bio-bubbles as such. It is in a prime position to repeat to do it again if need be. It would also make sense because the UAE is being touted as a potential host for the T20 World Cup. UAE has also got the experience, having hosted several international cricket matches through the years.

In terms of efforts and logistics, it would be wise to host both big tournaments there as falls in line with the first plan.

Moreover, as of early May, ~40% of its entire population is vaccinated and it has more or less got a firm grip over the pandemic.

The other possible venue may be England itself.

It stands to reason since Indian and English players would be in the country. Additionally, several counties in the country have expressed a strong desire to host the IPL.

But then, quarantine times, travel times, and other things would have to be factored in from hosting the IPL in a different country and then possibly going to the UAE.

In either case, the biggest hurdle would be getting other international players on board, especially with World Cup right around the corner.

It will be interesting to see if BCCI can sway away other partners to amend the existing schedule to make room for its prized possession.

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