IPL 2021: The suspended IPL 2021 matches could be staged in England if the BCCI plans to do so. On Thursday, several counties wrote to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) asking the governing body to reach out to BCCI and host the remaining matches of the IPL 2021. However, as per the ECB, BCCI is yet to engage in any dialogue over staging the IPL in England, possibly in mid-September after the tournament was indefinitely suspended following multiple cases of COVID-19 infection inside the bio-bubble.
“We speak to the BCCI regularly about tours and other matters and we’ll continue doing so, but we have received no indication that they are looking for alternative hosts for the IPL at the moment,” the ECB told Daily Mail.
The statement came after multiple counties expressed interest in hosting the remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 in mid-September, before the ICC T20 World Cup. The Kia Oval (London), Edgbaston (Birmingham) and Emirates Old Trafford and MCC, Surrey, Warwickshire, and Lancashire floated the ambitious plan of hosting matches with 3 PM UK time as the start time for the matches that would suit India’s prime time audience and the Lord’s potentially hosting the final.
IPL 2021 to be conducted overseas: With India undergoing a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and a third wave is expected in September-October as per some scientists, some BCCI officials, although unofficially, have all but ruled out India as the potential host to stage the remaining matches. The UAE is the preferred venue with Australia being kept as the other option. However, as England counties have expressed interest, that option hasn’t been ruled out either.
However, as per a BCCI official, India could certainly stage the tournament if the COVID-19 crisis is under control by September. Conducting the remaining IPL 2021 matches could be a good preparation ground for the T20 World Cup.
“Why not? If the foreign players are available and the COVID-19 situation is in control, we can definitely look at that window before the T20 WC. It can in fact act as a good preparation ground for the showpiece event,” a BCCI official told ANI.
IPL 2021 with crowds: The other factor that could boost England as the potential host is the return of the crowd. In 2020, the IPL was conducted closed doors in the UAE while the IPL 2021 matches also had to be conducted without any crowd with the BCCI and IPL franchises losing out on ticket money. But England counties have promised to host the matches with the crowd, significantly boosting its chances to stage the tournament for the first time in England.
However, Hampshire county boss, Rod Bransgrove, was surprised at the letter as he said hosting IPL in England will be illegal. “I did hear about the discussion but I am not sure how it can happen. As per the current arrangement, it will be illegal to host the IPL here,” he told Cricbuzz.