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Can IPL 2021 take place in September-October window after mid-season postponement?

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The mid-season suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has put the BCCI and the IPL Governing Council’s plans in jeopardy and their logistical management has gone for a toss with questions starting to rise about the resumption of the 14th edition, if it does.

In a time where several countries have put blanket bans on travel to and from India due to a rapid surge in the cases of COVID-19 and people gasping for their lives due to lack of hospital beds and scarcity of medical oxygen within the country, the resumption looks difficult at this point in time, but the IPL chairman Brijesh Patel has said that they are looking at a September-October window for hosting the remaining 31 games of this year’s IPL.

Is there a realistic chance to host in India?

Frankly, if BCCI and the IPL like earlier insist it to host in India, it looks impossible looking at the Future Tour Programs of all the national teams and quarantine requirements, because the protocols delay the proceedings by a week or 10 days depending upon the rules in each state. And, with many doctors and health officials predicting the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 arriving in the latter half of May, the third wave arriving in August, the situation for hosting a tournament like IPL doesn’t look promising.

Starting June 2, England has a busy international home season with a Test series against New Zealand, five-match series against India, The Hundred league, all of which ends days before they fly to the sub-continent, first to face Pakistan in two T20Is and then for the ICC T20 World Cup in India and after the marquee event, they will be busy in preparation for the Ashes.

Similarly for New Zealand and Australia, the other two nations, who had the most participation in terms of the number of overseas players, they will not be ready to release the players before the T20 World Cup as they would have international schedules around the corner and they’d rather have them fit and fine for their national sides rather than the IPL.

So unless BCCI moves mountains to lure the cricketing boards and persuade them to release their players, the resumption of the league in India looks really difficult, especially when there are chances of the World Cup being moved out of India as well, looking at the crisis situation.

So, can it happen outside India?

It may or may not. English counties, Warwickshire, Lancashire and Surrey have shown their interest in hosting the rest of the league at their home grounds Edgbaston (Birmingham), The Old Trafford (Manchester) and The Kia Oval (London), respectively in the two-week September window before the T20 World Cup in October, as per ESPN Cricinfo.

The counties have written to England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and asked them to reach the BCCI for the same saying that it can work in two ways. It will provide the players around the world to prepare for the showpiece event and it will also help in popularising IPL in the UK if it is held there.

And, with the multiple venues becoming the reason for the undoing of this year’s IPL, BCCI will have certain decisions to make sticking to hosting the rest of the games at one or maximum of two venues and for that, the COVID-19 situation has to improve significantly, otherwise, at this point, the resumption looks highly improbable.

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