The Indian cricket board may decide the fate of the remainder of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) along with rest of domestic season when it meets on Saturday through a virtual meeting.
The IPL 2021 was suspended this month due to Covid-19 cases inside the tournament’s bio-secure environment.
Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), this month issued a note to state bodies, calling for a special general meeting for ‘Discussion on the upcoming cricket season in view of the pandemic situation prevailing in India’.
There would be a discussion on T20 World Cup that India is scheduled to host, but may now be held in the UAE.
It is understood that the BCCI would look into the period between September 15 — a day after India’s Test series in England ends — and mid-October, around the time T20 World Cup is slated to begin, to stage the 31 remaining IPL matches. The tournament is most likely be completed in the UAE.
The remaining IPL games are expected to be played in 20 or 22 days. There could be a large number of double-headers, so as to finish the tournament quickly. There is a likelihood that many international stars may give the tournament a miss.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has already said that its top star players won’t compromise with the national team’s international calendar.
England’s Test players like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, and Sam Curran may not be available since they have limited-overs series in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Australia’s limited overs stars too will be busy with international commitments in July (West Indies) and August (Bangladesh) and they will have a short rest period ahead of the T20 World Cup, which begins in mid-October, as well as a busy season Down Under that includes the Ashes.
The rest of Indian domestic season that comprises long-format tournaments, the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy is expected to be chalked out at the meeting.
There could also be a discussion on compensation to first-class players who have lost out on match fees as no long-format tournament was played last season due to Covid-19.
Here is a look at options for hosting IPL:
September 15 to mid-October:
The window available is free for Indian players as also for players from Australia and West Indies, from where many superstars come. England players will, however, be busy in limited-overs series in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Australia have a very short period of rest in this period as they would have finished limited-overs series in West Indies in July and in Bangladesh in August, and would be gearing up for T20 World Cup and Ashes.
Mid-October to mid-November:
T20 World Cup. All the teams will be busy.
Mid-November to early December:
It may not be possible to host IPL since Australia’s summer would have started. The summer includes Ashes series. It means that the English and Australian stars would be busy preparing for that. Also, India are expected to tour South Africa in December-January. If IPL is hosted in this period, it would be devoid of foreign stars, and could bring in a change in India-South Africa schedule.