Can The Remainder Of IPL 2021 Actually Happen In England? Experts Weigh In
The suspension of the latest edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has triggered multiple conversations. One among these surrounds alternate venues for the completion of the remainder of the tournament. England has reportedly emerged as a potential host, but how feasible is the plan?
Here’s the lowdown:
What is the offer?
A group of English counties, including MCC, Surrey, Warwickshire and Lancashire, has reportedly offered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to host the remainder of IPL 2021 in September.
According to Espncricinfo, England counties offers to host the remaining of IPL 2021 in England in September.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) May 6, 2021
As a result, stadiums like The Kia Oval (London), Edgbaston (Birmingham) and Emirates Old Trafford (Manchester) could stage the remaining games. Team India is due to play a Test series in England, beginning August, which could ease out travel and logistical concerns to some extent.
What do experts say?
Cricket commentator and former Indian cricketer, Aakash Chopra believes that the quarantining of such a huge number of players could prove to be an impediment for any IPL host.
“It’s not that easy, let’s be honest. There are three to four huge issues. The first is to take all the players there and get them to quarantine. We are not just talking about Indian players. It’s a global event where everyone has to come and quarantine,” Chopra said in a video on his Youtube channel recently.
He also pointed out that the packed international calendar in 2021 and individual preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup later this year could also be big factors in this case.
“Secondly, all countries at that time would be making their preparations for the World Cup in that period. All of them have some or the other matches scheduled, like England is playing against Pakistan at that time.”
What is the pandemic situation like in England?
As of May 6, England had reported as few as 2,613 COVID-19 cases in a four-week period. More than half of the local population had received at least the first vaccine jab at the time of writing this article, according to Public Health England (PHE).
On 6 May, 2,613 new cases and 13 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported across the UK.
— Public Health England (@PHE_uk) May 6, 2021
Large-scale sporting events like the English Premier League football and matches from the UEFA Champions League football tournament have been going on in England since last year behind closed doors. But from May 17, outdoor sports venues are due to be allowed up to 10,000 fans or 25 percent capacity, whichever is lower.
Other possible IPL venues, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia, have also been discussed in the media. The former is also touted as a replacement for India to host the T20 World Cup later this year, with the pandemic situation worsening in India by the day.
So, can the IPL resume in the UAE?
“Can it happen in the UAE, hypothetical again,” said Chopra.
“The quarantine rules are less stringent there. But the problem is there are only three grounds. If you play 31 matches of the IPL first, how will the long World Cup happen after that. So in terms of the pitch conditions, I don’t think that will be possible.”
Australia is yet to relax its travel norms for flyers from India, so that road for the IPL already looks obstacle-filled. But an announcement in this regard is due from the Aussie government after May 15, which could offer better clarity.
UPDATE: The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season with immediate effect.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 4, 2021
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had stated on Thursday that the board will evaluate if a window is available before the T20 World Cup (October), to host the remaining 31 games of the IPL. The T20 WC is also expected to move out of India due to the pandemic.
BCCI had decided to defer IPL 2021 after a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases among the players and support staff on Tuesday.
With no decision on the resumption of the IPL yet, it remains to be seen what the coming months have in store for the T20 league, as well as international cricket. Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments.
Image source: Twitter/BCCI