After partially hosting the previous season of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might once again be forced to stage the upcoming 15th season of the lucrative league away from India in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Notably, the full 2020 season and half of the 2021 IPL season were staged in the UAE due to the global pandemic.
Once again, India is witnessing a massive spike in Covid-19 cases and if things don’t improve in the coming months, the Indian board would shift the cash-rich league to South Africa or Sri Lanka.
According to a report in Indian Express, the BCCI is extremely pleased with the current arrangements made by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on the ongoing India tour and as a result, it is looking at the rainbow nation as a viable option. Significantly, South Africa had also hosted the 2009 edition of IPL due to the general elections in India.
Meanwhile, the report also suggested that the island nation of Sri Lanka is also part of Plan B for the Indian board.
Notably, the 15 season is all set to be the longest-ever with the addition of the two new teams – Lucknow and Ahmedabad recently.
Although the BCCI had staged the previous two seasons in the Middle East, it is now looking for a new venue as it doesn’t want to be over-dependent on the UAE every time and also the time difference would suit the players in the rainbow nation.
“We can’t be dependent on UAE all the time so we decided to explore more options, South Africa’s time difference also works out well for the players,” said a BCCI official as quoted by Indian Express.
According to the report, the arrangements in South Africa for the ongoing three-Test series has pleased the BCCI.
“The place where the team was staying for the second Test is spread over several acres. There were walking tracks and even a pond on the property and that has made things easier for the players who for the last couple of years or so have been confined to their rooms on several overseas tours,” an official said.
Few days back, an another report in the Time of India (ToI) had suggested that the BCCI is mullling to organise the entire league in Maharashtra, across four venues – Brabourne Stadium and Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai and Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium (MCA) in Gahunje in Pune however, the rising Covid cases led to the postponement of the Ranji Trophy, women’s T20 league and has now forced the Indian board to redraw the IPL 2022 schedule even as it had wanted the upcoming season to be held in India.
Recently, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla has said that the BCCI will make every effort to ensure that the next edition of IPL takes place in India.
Before Shukla, BCCI secretary Jay Shah in November 2021 had also said that the next IPL season will take place in India. While attending an event, “The Champions Call” in Chennai, which was organised to celebrate Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) fourth IPL victory, Shah has assured that the cash-rich league will return to India and it will be even more exciting as two new teams – Ahmedabad and Lucknow will be joining the lucrative league.
“I know you all are waiting to see the CSK play at Chepauk. Well, the moment is not very far. The 15th season of the IPL will take place in India and it will be more exciting than ever with two new teams joining,” the BCCI secretary said.