IPL 2021: BCCI mulling relocating the tournament to Mumbai to mitigate COVID-19 risks

IPL 2021: BCCI mulling relocating the tournament to Mumbai to mitigate COVID-19 risks

The stiff challenge for the BCCI in hosting the matches in Mumbai would be to create the all-important and talked-about bio-security bubble.

Wankhede Stadium
Wankhede Stadium. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Amidst the COVID-19 scare, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering shifting the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to Mumbai. The reports emerged after the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Monday, April 3, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad had to be rescheduled.

Mumbai could well be hosting the games from the coming weekend itself if things go as per plan. It could mean a rearranged schedule with more doubleheaders. There is also a chance for the final to be shifted from May 30 to early June. The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai has hosted 10 IPL games in the ongoing season while MCA’s ground in the Bandra-Kurla Complex was used for training purposes.

BCCI scratching its head for the remainder of the IPL

The stiff challenge for the BCCI in hosting the matches in Mumbai would be to create the all-important and talked-about bio-security bubble. It mostly includes finding the hotels for the eight participating teams and preparing the stadia. During the first leg of the IPL, all three grounds- Wankhede, Brabourne and DY Patil, were used by the teams for training purposes.

It is learned that on Monday, the BCCI, the world’s richest cricket board, called several hotels in Mumbai to verify if they would be able to satisfy the SOPs needed for the bubble. No official announcement has been made thus far, but as per a few franchises, it won’t be a surprise if Mumbai ends up hosting the matches. It would also mean a deviation from the IPL’s two-venue model.

The third leg of the league is scheduled to take place in Kolkata and Bangalore. As per reports in ESPNcricinfo, in another probable development, if the IPL final is postponed from May 30, it could also have an impact on the World Test Championship Final to be played between India and New Zealand from June 18-22.

The ICC is currently negotiating with the British government regarding the quarantine norms after the UK blocked travel from India. In the meantime, one BCCI official was of the opinion that moving the IPL to Mumbai would allow the India and New Zealand players to fly directly to England.