England counties offer to host remaining IPL matches in September
In a major development, a group of English counties has offered to host the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season in September this year. The MCC, Surrey, Warwickshire, and Emirates Old Trafford are believed to be part of the group who wrote to the ECB, urging them to extend the opportunity to the BCCI. Here is more.
Counties plan to complete IPL in second half of September
The counties plan to complete the tournament in two weeks during the second half of September. Besides, the counties also pointed out that doing so would help the players engage in high-quality cricket, heading into the T20 World Cup. Conducting the IPL in UK might also ensure that the pitches in the UAE, where the T20 WC could be held, are fresh.
What about the spectators?
The counties hope the games could have the presence of crowds. However, the same could happen in the UAE as well, who hosted the tournament last year. Notably, the last two IPL seasons (2020 and 2021) have been held behind closed doors amid COVID-19 pandemic.
A look at the challenges
There are several hurdles which could thwart these plans. While it is hard to predict the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, a call is yet to be taken on the host country for the T20 World Cup. The potential quarantine time will have to be factored in. Finally, the time difference between India and UK (4 hours and 30 minutes) might affect the viewership.
The international calendar brings in more obstacles
As per the existing international schedule, the England-India Test series ends on September 14. England is then expected to host Pakistan for T20Is less than a month later. Several other teams have international assignments scheduled around the same time. However, the counties hope to accommodate India's cash-rich league in England through some flexibility in the international calendar.
IPL suspended due to rise in COVID-19 cases among players
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) postponed the IPL 2021 season after several COVID-19 cases were reported inside the bio-bubbles. On Monday this week, two positive cases were reported in KKR's camp (Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier). As a result, the RCB-KKR match was deferred. A day later, the bio-bubbles of three other franchises (CSK, SRH and DC) were breached.