The second half of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) will be played in a different country, after India’s cricket governing body ruled out completing the tournament in home venues due to the ongoing health crisis.
Sourav Ganguly, President of the Board of Control for India (BCCI), insisted that travel and quarantine restrictions are ‘too tough to handle’, concluding that the remaining games of the 2021 season ‘can’t happen in India’, when speaking to SportStar.
Although the head of the sporting authority did not offer any suggestions as to where the cricket competition may be held instead, a group of English counties put forward a bid to stage the IPL season in the UK last week, penning a letter to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Ganguly told the magazine: “India is supposed to go to Sri Lanka for three ODIs and five T20Is in July. There are also lots of organisational hazards so it’s too early to say how we can find a slot to complete the IPL.”
It has been estimated that the BCCI could stand to lose more than $300 million in sponsorship and broadcast revenue, if the IPL does not return. Ganguly had previously expressed hope that the season would resume, but it was unlikely to do so on home soil.
The BCCI has faced widespread criticism of late for making a delayed decision on the postponement of the IPL, with the country in desperate need of supplies to treat coronavirus patients and the Indian government facing pressure to introduce a national lockdown.
However, Ganguly said on the matter: “There are different scenarios, and it is not always helpful to be wise after the event. As I said, we would have continued if there were no cases, we would have completed the IPL.
“The players were in the bubble and there were no crowds at the venues. Players were not getting infected. Once the players got affected, we called it off. Look at leagues going around the world. They have had COVID cases, but they have continued.”
Four countries have been identified as potential replacement hosts for the tournament, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which staged the entire 2020 season due to the pandemic and has been earmarked to take over India’s hosting duties for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Additionally, Australia, England and Sri Lanka are also said to be in the mix.