By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) The Indian cricket board is planning to host this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) in India and is not ruling out the possibility of holding it in a hub.
The lengthy tournament that is expected to exceed 50 days — the 2020 edition lasted 53 days — will present the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with a variety of challenges, including those like regular testing at venues.
“As of now it has been decided that the IPL should be happening in India. In case the same situation prevails [with declining Covid-19 cases in India], then it should happen in India,” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told IANS.
“We want to do it in India as the IPL is an Indian league. Hopefully, the situation remains the same. It would depend on how safe it is to have eight venues. Maybe we can think of a hub. We will take the final call according to the situation,” he said.
The point of having a hub or multiple hubs could be necessary as IPL entails frequent travel. As of now, on England’s tour of India, players of both sides would be stationed at one venue for a long duration. Chennai will host the first two Tests while Ahmedabad will host the next two and also the five T20s that follow.
During IPL, teams travel very frequently, often every second or third day. Covid-19 tests are required on arrival at every venue along with a period of quarantine.
That challenge may force the BCCI to go for one or multiple hubs.
The BCCI is also looking to get the players vaccinated.
As of now, only the frontline Covid-19 workers like the police, health staff etc. are getting vaccinated in the first phase. The second phase, the date of which hasn’t been announced, will see those above 50 and those under 50 with co-morbidities get vaccinated.
“We want to do that [get players vaccinated]. In case, the government permits or allows we will do it,” said Dhumal.
“Even without vaccination, it will stay here as it is the Indian Premier League. Ideally, it should happen in India. When we had no choice, we moved it to the UAE,” he said.
One of the reasons why the BCCI did not host the Ranji Trophy was that it may have had to be split in two halves — one prior to IPL and one after the IPL.
“Ranji Trophy runs for about 65-70 days. Definitely it would have been challenging to hold it this time. In mid-Feb, you can’t hold it because some of those players have to represent teams in IPL,” he added.
“You can’t be having two Ranji Trophy tournaments in the same calendar year. By the time we will finish this Ranji Trophy, the time for other would have come because this Ranji Trophy would have had to be split into two halves. One before the IPL and one after the IPL. It is a long tournament,” Dhumal added.
“Given the practicality of the issue, we thought it would be better to go with Vijay Hazare and U-19 and women’s cricket also. We need to have probables for Women’s World Cup (scheduled for 2022) also. U-19 World Cup. Keeping all these things in mind, we decided this will be the most practical thing to do.”