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BCCI mulls September window to finish IPL 2021

Now that the first step of cancellation has been taken, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) authorities are racking their brains over what next as well as what if. There is no immediate information if an inquest into the doomed season will take place but efforts are being made to ascertain the causes.

The causes, of course, will be for a later date but there seems to be some thinking on when and where to host the remainder of the league. So far 29 of the 60 games have been played and the BCCI is exploring the option of holding the remaining 31 games in September.

“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,” said a franchise official who is in know.

When contacted, Brijesh Patel, the chairman of the IPL, did not rule that out. When specifically asked what next, he said, “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.”

The T20 World Cup is scheduled from October 18 to November 15 with uncertainty on the venue. India are the designated hosts but UAE has been kept as a stand-bye. Reacting to IPL chairman’s comments, another franchise official said September was a long way off and one had to see how the Coronavirus situation develops.

As earlier reported by Cricbuzz, 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). Rajeev Shukla, the BCCI vice-president, dialed the franchises and sought their opinions before the BCCI top brass meting around noon on Tuesday (May 4). Most of the franchises are believed to have preferred immediate suspension of the league.

One of the owners, Ness Wadia, of Punjab Kings called it the “right decision at the right time.”

“It is very unfortunate but it is a decision that is correct under the current circumstances. I would say given the drastic increase in cases in the last two-three weeks, it has brought in a new dimension to the planning that was done at the beginning,” said Wadia who also confessed to not being concerned about the monetary loss.

“It is important that we considered the safety of the players. That is the utmost important factor. Personally, I have not thought about the financial losses. We will deal with that later. Right now we are focusing on ensuring safe return of the players,” he said.

With four teams carrying Covid positive cases, the tournament could not have dragged on for too long anyway. But at one stage, the option of suspending the action for five days and taking the whole IPL entourage into quarantine was explored but the BCCI bosses were made aware of the panic among foreign players and senior support staff members.

Right now, the BCCI and franchises are focusing on sending the squad members home. Charter flights are being booked to Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ranchi and Delhi even as the BCCI has called the teams to say that it is coordinating with foreign boards on sending their players home in the midst of travel ban from India for Australians involved in the IPL.

In a joint statement, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association confirmed that they will not seek an extension from the government to lift the travel ban for people flying in from India, scheduled to run till May 15. South African players, however, will be allowed to fly back and will need to home quarantine as per WHO guidelines. And the England Cricket Board said in a statement, that it was “in close contact with our players and staff in India as arrangements are put in place for them to return home safely.”

IPL GC examines bubble breaches
IPL’s Governing Council members, largely consisting of the office-bearers, came down heavily on the medical team of the BCCI. Questions were raised about the measures taken and how they did not materialise.

The medical team engaged Supratech company for managing the bio-secure bubble in Ahmedabad while in Chennai and Mumbai, Newberg was responsible. The name of the company for the Delhi bubble was not immediately known but at it is leant that the BCCI going to probe the lapses. The point of note was that the sanctity of the bubbles was compromised not just in Delhi. Even in Ahmedabad it was found to be inadequate. Cricbuzz

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