UAE emerging as preferred choice for hosting remaining 31 IPL matches

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Amid reports that the BCCI has requested England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to advance the five-Test series by a week from the current August 4, the UAE is said to be emerging as the preferred destination for the remaining 31 matches of the postponed IPL 2021. The BCCI will take the final call when the Special General Meeting (SGM) takes place on May 29.

The UAE choice reportedly has the backing of the BCCI’s interim CEO Hemang Amin.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India has enquired about the possibility of moving the final Test of the English summer in order to make room to complete the postponed Indian Premier League,” a report in The Times said.

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly on May 6 suggested that the 2021 IPL could be completed in a window just prior to the men’s T20 World Cup. That was the first public hint of the windows the BCCI is looking at for the rescheduling.

Also read: In the gloom and doom of corona, IPL is an ode to life’s caravan

India remains the host for the global event, scheduled to run from mid-October to November 14. But in the wake of the IPL’s postponement and uncertainty over how the pandemic progresses in the country, the ICC could be forced to consider the UAE as the venue for its event, reports said.

The Emirates has successfully hosted the IPL twice –in 2014 and the other during the pandemic in 2020. The teams, players, support staff, administrators and broadcasters are familiar with the protocols and procedures. It also saves the BCCI the headache with respect to the weather with dry conditions prevailing in September-October which may not be the case in England where rain may play spoilsport.

Also read: It’s official: IPL can’t happen in India this year

Media reports said BCCI’S interim CEO and also the COO of the IPL, Hemang Amin, has reportedly chalked out two different plans and schedules for the remaining 31 matches of IPL – one for the UAE and the other for England with the Indian board very keen to host the marquee league in the window between mid-September and mid-October.

The biggest challenge will be to squeeze the tournament in the limited time between the end of India’s England tour and the T20 World Cup. The fifth Test in Manchester is scheduled to end on September 14. Although the ICC is yet to announce the itinerary for the T20 World Cup, it is expected to start around October 16.

Accounting for quarantine periods and warm-up games wherever the tournament is held, teams will be expected to start arriving around the end of September. The only thing which works for the United Kingdom is the novelty and prestige factor.

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