After being forced to postpone the event indefinitely, reports suggest that BCCI and IPL governing council are mulling a window in September to finish the rest of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 matches.
At some stage, after ensuring everyone’s safe departure back home, the board will have to finalise a slot in the calendar to conduct 31 of the 60 matches remaining in the tournament, with the tournament cancellation being the worst-case scenario.
And a franchise official close to the initial discussions told Cricbuzz that the BCCI is looking at the short window in September – just after India’s five-Test series in England and just prior to the T20 World Cup – to host the rest of IPL 2021.
“A September window is being considered. By then the England-India series would be over and the foreign players would be ready for the T20 World Cup. That small window is being explored,” the franchise official was quoted as saying.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel didn’t rule out the September window possibility, with no other slot vacant in a busy calendar year. India travel to England for the World Test Championship final and their marquee Test series this summer, before entering the T20 World Cup and then hosting New Zealand and travelling to South Africa.
BCCI looking at September window to complete remainder of the IPL 2021
“Now we have to look for a window. If we get one, we will explore holding it. We’ll have to see if it is possible in September. We need to examine the plans of the ICC and other boards,” Patel told Cricbuzz.
India’s Test schedule in the UK culminates on September 14 and the T20 World Cup begins on October 18 – a gap of more than a month. While the stringent SOPs required amid the pandemic will pose a challenge still, it seems the only option left for BCCI will be to conduct the rest of IPL 2021 matches in the short window talked about above.
The Cricbuzz report stated another franchise official reacting to the IPL chairman’s comments, saying September is quite far away and any new window for the league’s 14th edition will depend on how the global pandemic situation develops.
The report also mentioned, “before taking the call on suspending the league, IPL and BCCI officials privately contacted franchise managers/CEO to elicit their views on the way forward for the tournament on Tuesday (May 4 morning).”
BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla is understood to have called all eight IPL franchises and sought their opinions, before the board and IPL authorities had their emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
“Most of the franchises are believed to have preferred immediate suspension of the league.”