IPL 2021: BCCI face logistical issues with lot of cricket scheduled to be played in UAE


Many reports have surfaced regarding the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) planning to host the remainder of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from September 15 to October 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). IPL 2021 commenced in India on April 9 but BCCI was forced to suspend the event after there was a breach in the bio-secure bubble.

Meanwhile, the Indian board is likely to face a lot of challenges if they wish to conduct IPL 2021 in the UAE. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has wretched havoc in the Asian countries and as a result, UAE has emerged as the premier sporting destination. A lot of tournaments and bilateral series are already scheduled to be played in the Arab nation.

For starters, the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi will host the remaining 20 matches of the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League in June 2021. Though the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to announce the schedule for the remainder of PSL 2021, it is understood that they will require the ground for a minimum of 20 days.

In the early days of September, Pakistan and Afghanistan will lock horns against each other in the three-match One Day series. Afghanistan has either India or UAE as their home ground. If the Covid-19 scare in India continues, then the ODI series will be hosted in UAE only and that means that the allotted ground will be occupied for at least a week.

UAE to handover all the three stadiums to ICC ahead of T20 World Cup

Further, Pakistan and New Zealand are scheduled to play three One Day Internationals and as many T20 Internationals in UAE September-October, occupying at least 15 days in the calendar. Afghanistan and Ireland also have to play a three-match T20I series just before the ICC T20 World Cup in October. The series is likely to be organized in the middle east region.

The T20 World Cup will also act as a roadblock in the plans of BCCI. Though India is scheduled to host the marquee event, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has named UAE as the backup venue. Thus if ICC will host the T20 Championship in UAE, then the Emirates Cricket Board has promised to hand over all the grounds to ICC by October 1 according to a report in The Telegraph.

With so many tournaments and bilateral series scheduled, it will be no less than a task for Emirates Cricket Board to make space for the IPL 2021 from September 15 to October 15. Even if BCCI somehow manages to clear the window for IPL 2021 in UAE, the pitches can pose threat to the quality of the games in IPL.

UAE has only three venues including the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, and the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Hosting a lot of matches in a short period of time is likely to deteriorate the condition of the surface.