BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla has arrived in the UAE to lay the groundwork for the resumption of the remainder of IPL 2021. According to a report in Khaleej Times, president Sourav Ganguly, Jay Shah and IPL chairman Brijesh Patel too will soon arrive in the country.
Following the Special General Meeting on Saturday, the BCCI announced that the remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 will take place in the UAE. IPL 2021 was called off on May 4 after multiple bio-secure bubble breaches. The tournament is now expected to restart on September 18, four days after India’s Test series in England gets over.
"I am already here. Now a team of BCCI office-bearers, president (Sourav Ganguly), secretary (Jay Shah) and the IPL chairman (Brijesh Patel) will be coming here in a couple of days. We will be having discussions with the cricket board here and the other authorities. And accordingly, the schedule will be made, so the tournament happens in a very smooth manner as it happened here last year," Shukla told Khaleej Times.
The 61-year-old informed that if the Emirates Cricket Board permits, we could see the spectators back in the stadiums. "The only issue is about the spectators, whether they will allow the spectators or not. So we will talk to them about that. We will go by whatever UAE authorities decide. If they say it’s with spectators, and a certain percentage of spectators, we are fine. Or if they say without spectators, that is also fine with us. There is no problem."
There are some concerns over the availability of foreign players but Shukla said the remaining matches will be conducted no matter what. "We have discussed that (foreign players) issue also. Our main focus is on completing this edition of the IPL. It should not be left halfway through. So whichever foreign players are available is fine. Whoever is not available, it is not going to stop us from hosting the tournament.
"The Indian players are there, foreign players are there, but few foreign players will not be available. As I said, we have to complete our tournament. So the franchises will definitely look for other players. Whoever is available, we are going to have the tournament with them. That’s our policy.
"The franchises are all very happy. From day one, they have been backing the UAE. There were some media reports about England (hosting the remaining matches), but there’s a weather problem in England where it rains a lot.
"Also, we have got about 20 days to complete the tournament. Even if we start on September 19, by the 10th of October we have to finish it. Then there’s a T20 World Cup (October-November) also. So keeping the weather in mind and the top-class facilities, the UAE was the best option."
Talking about hosting the 2021 T20 World Cup in India, Shukla said: "That issue also has been deliberated. Our first choice is India. So we will be seeking some time from the ICC, a month or so, to decide about it. If towards the end of June or maybe, the first week of July, the situation is not good there (India), then obviously it (T20 World Cup) will come to the UAE.
"If the situation improves (in India) and we are able to host it, then we will be hosting there (in India)."