This, however, could require a rejigging of various boards’ calendars
The BCCI is honing in on the possibility of conducting the second half of IPL 2021 in the UAE in a window between September 18 and October 12. For that to happen, however, it would require a rejigging of various boards’ calendars, not least the CPL which is scheduled to start on August 28. If the BCCI does push ahead with these dates it would mean that the IPL ends only around a week before the mooted start of the ICC’s T20 World Cup, which may also be held in the UAE.
The BCCI has informally communicated these plans to IPL franchises, telling them it needs a 25-day window to conduct the 31 remaining matches. This year’s IPL was indefinitely suspended on May 4, after a number of players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic in India.
The window remains a fluid prospect and is subject to the BCCI being able to convince various other member boards to tweak their schedules, which would allow maximum player availability. Not least among them would be the CPL, which is scheduled to run between August 28 and September 19. West Indian players are a significant part of the IPL and the clash of dates has forced the BCCI to open discussions with the CPL, asking whether it can tweak its itinerary to allow enough time for players to travel to the UAE for the IPL. That might not be easy, given West Indies’ packed home international season, which ends with the last Test against Pakistan, which is scheduled to take place from August 20 to 24.
The BCCI also opened up informal dialogue with the ECB last week to explore the feasibility of tweaking the schedule of the five-Test series between England and India, which will be played between August 4 and September 14. An earlier end to that series could allow enough of a window for the IPL. That is an equally difficult request to consider, given the ECB’s own packed schedule this summer, including the launch of The Hundred.
England’s players are also due to travel to Bangladesh and Pakistan immediately after the home summer for two white-ball series, with the ECB having already indicated that their players are unlikely to be part of a rescheduled IPL.
On the FTP (Future Tours Programme), South Africa are also scheduled to tour India for three ODIs and three T20Is in October before the T20 World Cup.
With India still firmly in the grip of the second wave of the pandemic, the BCCI has concluded that the IPL will need to be shifted overseas and that the UAE is the best option, especially since it also remains the ICC’s back-up venue for the T20 World Cup. There could be an impact on the global event should the BCCI succeed in scheduling the IPL around those dates.
The T20 World Cup is expected to start around October 16, but would need teams to start arriving a few weeks before that date – wherever the event is ultimately staged. If both the IPL and T20 World Cup do go ahead in the same country – most likely the UAE – the ICC would need a window between the end of the IPL and the start of its tournament for preparation.