The Indian Premier League, suspended earlier as a new coronavirus wave hit India, will be finished in the United Arab Emirates in September and October, the Board of Control for Cricket in India said on Saturday.
The world’s richest cricket tournament was half-finished when it was halted on May 4 after a number of players and team officials caught coronavirus despite being in bio-secure bubbles.
The board announced the decision to “complete the remaining matches of Indian Premier League 2021 season in the United Arab Emirates considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year,” according to a statement issued by the board’s Secretary Jay Shah.
The decision was taken at a Special General Meeting held virtually, where members unanimously agreed to resume IPL.
The Covid-19 cases in India have declined over the last few days but the country is still seeing more daily cases than any other country. And with the monsoon season in India from June-September, the BCCI has decided to host the remaining matches in UAE.
The likely dates will be between September 18 and October 10, PTI reported.
While IPL’s UAE shift was a foregone conclusion, the office bearers intimated the general body about the issue of availability of players.
“The BCCI is pretty clear that even if there is a case of unavailability of English players due to their series against Pakistan, we are not going to plead to any of the boards about releasing their players,” an official told PTI on the condition of anonymity
“The first and foremost thing is to complete the 31 remaining games of IPL. We believe other aspects will be taken care of,” he added.
The BCCI SGM also authorised the office bearers to seek an extension of time from the ICC to take an appropriate call on the hosting of ICC T20 World Cup 2021 that is scheduled to take place in India in October later this year.
All the members want the T20 World Cup to be held in India in last week of October but no decision can be taken right now.
“The BCCI representatives – president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah – will be seeking time till July 1 after which another SGM will be held to decide on whether we would go ahead with hosting of World T20,” the official said.
“Right now, the health situation in the country doesn’t allow us to take any final decision,” the official added.
A senior state association member told PTI that there is also a tax rebate issue which is still an ongoing process.
“ICC wants tax waivers but we have to abide by government guidelines. But a World T20 in India means that all the stakeholders happen to gain. But sitting in May, you can’t predict the health emergency in October. So we need some time,” he said.
Domestic players’ compensation
A member from a state association had informally raised the issue but he was told in no uncertain terms that this is not the appropriate forum as SGM needs to be held as per the agenda, PTI reported.
“The compensation thing has already been passed at the AGM last January. Yes, they haven’t worked out a formula and trust me it’s not the easiest thing. Dada (Sourav Ganguly) has got approval for compensation but what’s the formula?
“Today, if a state gives contract to 20 players, which is a standard upper limit, there will be five who may just move court and say that this year they were supposed to be selected? These are things that the Board needs to sort out,” an official of a heavyweight state said.
Ganguly, Shah going to Dubai on Monday
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah will join vice president Rajiv Shukla in Dubai for the ICC Board Meeting on June 1 where there will be discussions on the fate of the T20 World Cup in India in October.
“As they will ask for one month’s time, the best option for BCCI is to hold it in Maharashtra – three grounds in Mumbai and one in Pune. However, the issue of Pakistan travelling to Mumbai could be more of a political decision where the security will also need to be factored in,’’ the official said.
Covid-19 in India
The Centre on Saturday said it will discontinue allocating antiviral drug remdesivir to states as India has ramped up its production by ten times since April. The supply has now surpassed the demand, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya said.
India reported 1,73,790 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Saturday morning, taking the overall tally to 2,77,29,247 since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020. This is the lowest number of new infections recorded in a single day in 45 days. The toll rose by 3,617 to 3,22,512, while the active caseload stood at 22,28,724.
India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Friday held talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken about Covid-19 vaccines and coordination amid the pandemic.
Follow latest updates on Covid-19 here.
(With PTI inputs)