IPL Schedule: Covid surge forces BCCI to devise Plan B

Written by Abhishek Patil

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is expected to take place in India, in all likeliness, but the recent surge in the number of new Covid-19 positive cases has got the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) worried. It was reported that the entire season could be held inside Maharashtra’s four stadiums but with new cases arising in the state, the BCCI has started to devise a Plan B.

The board is looking to host the IPL 2021 season in 4-5 centres across the country after seeing Maharashtra being hit with what could quite possibly be the second wave of the coronavirus.

If the surge continues, it is understandably going to be difficult for the organisers to host the 14th edition of the T20 league in Maharashtra and that is why venues like Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad are being looked at.

According to the Plan B that the BCCI is still looking to formalise, the league stage of the tournament could be held in the aforementioned 4 cities while the knockouts and quite possibly the final of the tournament could be held at the largest cricket stadium in the world, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The BCCI is likely to create similar bio-secure bubbles like the ones that were created in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy.

There was also a possible clash with the election schedule in different states across the country but after the Election Commission announced the poll dates on Friday, the BCCI can now formalise their plan and finish the schedule of the T20 league.

A Caravan model could be opted for by the BCCI to resolve this concern and possible schedule clash. Different stages of the leagues could take place in different cities which would not just eliminate the risk of Covid as the players would remain inside the bubble for fixed durations while clashes with poll dates can also be easily avoided.

The next IPL Governing Council meeting is likely to be held on March 08 when all these discussions could take place.

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Abhishek Patil