Although the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 remainder has been officially shifted to the UAE, as BCCI announced last week, a big question regarding the availibilty of foreign players in it remains unanswered.
It is likely that the international schedule will collide with the second leg of IPL 2021 and in such a case, several star foreign players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, etc., might be forced to miss out.
However, the BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla has said that completing the remainder season of the lucrative league is the board’s primary target currently.
“We have discussed that (foreign players) issue also. Our main focus is on completing this edition of the IPL. It should not be left halfway through. So whichever foreign players are available is fine. Whoever is not available, it is not going to stop us from hosting the tournament,” Shukla was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
“The Indian players are there, foreign players are there, but few foreign players will not be available. As I said, we have to complete our tournament. So the franchises will definitely look for other players. Whoever is available, we are going to have the tournament with them. That’s our policy,” he added.
Commenting on whether fans will be allowed to attend the matches in the UAE, Shukla said: “The only issue is about the spectators, whether they will allow the spectators or not. So we will talk to them about that. We will go by whatever UAE authorities decide.”
“If they say it’s with spectators, and certain percentage of spectators, we are fine. Or if they say without spectators, that is also fine with us. There is no problem,” he added.
Meanwhile, about the potential dates for IPL 2021 remainder to resume, Shukla said: “I am already here. Now a team of BCCI office-bearers, president (Sourav Ganguly), secretary (Jay Shah) and the IPL chairman (Brijesh Patel) will be coming here in a couple of days.”
“We will be having discussions with the cricket board here and the other authorities. And accordingly the schedule will be made, so the tournament happens in a very smooth manner as it happened here last year,” he added.
“Whatever, Covid protocols (on vaccination) are required, we will be following those protocols, the Indian protocols as well as the UAE protocols,” Shukla signed off.