IPL 2021: Mumbai Could Lose IPL Venue Status Due to Rising COVID Cases

IPL 2021: Mumbai Could Lose IPL Venue Status Due to Rising COVID Cases

Given the high number of cases in Maharashtra and within Mumbai, the Indian Premier League which is expected to begin in the second week of April, may not be hosted at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. 

This comes as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly held informal talks with the franchises about possible venues ahead of the tournament. As per the current plans, the 2021 edition of the IPL will be conducted across multiple cities, but within biosecure bubbles. This basically means that each team will stay at one particular venue for a certain number of games and eventually move to the next bio-secure hub designated by the BCCI. 

An anonymous BCCI official quoted by HT said that a final call on Mumbai hasn’t been taken yet while adding that these decisions could be taken at an IPL Governing Council meeting soon. 

It’s worth pointing out that the Maharashtra Government has approved the upcoming One Day International Series Between India and England at Pune. The series will begin on March 23, consisting of three matches, with all being held at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. However, the government hasn’t permitted crowds for these games.

An unnamed official from one of the franchises said that IPL 2021 may be held without crowds for the first three weeks with the situation being assessed after that based on the situation amidst COVID-19. 

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For now, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata have been shortlisted as the five venues for IPL 14. Even in this scenario, matches in Kolkata will only be possible after the counting of the assembly elections is concluded on the 2nd of May. Some officials even said that Hyderabad hasn’t been ruled out as a likely venue at this point. 

Telangana State Minister, K.T. Rama Rao sent out an appeal via Twitter seeking to include Hyderabad among the venues for IPL 21. The city is home to IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad. 

“Open appeal to @BCCI and @IPL office bearers to include Hyderabad as one of the venues for upcoming IPL season. Our effective COVID containment measures are reflected in our low number of cases among all metro cities in India & we assure you of all support from the Govt,” the minister tweeted.

Oddly, the list makes no mention of venues like Jaipur and Mohali which happen to be the home grounds for Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, respectively. 

Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted about the omission saying, “There is no reason why Mohali can't host IPL and our Government will make all necessary arrangements for safety against #Covid19.”

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It is learnt that Punjab Kings has communicated to the BCCI so as to ascertain the reasoning behind their decision with regard to match-allocation. 

“We were told on Sunday that Mohali is not part of the plan and that there would be no home or away matches for any team. But no reasons were given. We would like to be part of a consultative process,” Co-Owner, Punjab Kings, Ness Wadia said. 

Franchises like Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have reportedly established communications with the BCCI regarding the same. 

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