Mumbai Indians squad celebrates with the trophy of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020
Mumbai Indians squad celebrates with the winners' trophy for IPL 2020 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium last November. Image Credit: BCCI

Kolkata: The Indian cricket board has narrowed down on the UAE over England as their venue of choice to stage the remaining part of IPL 2021 during a window between September 15 and October 15 and will get this ratified on their special general meeting on Saturday (May 29). They will also hold on to the decision of hosting the T20 World Cup on schedule in October-November, despite doubts in view of the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ever since the IPL 2021 was suspended on May 4 during to rising number of COVID-19 cases in the franchises’ camps, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had been wracking their brains on finding a window and venue for their moneyspinner event. While England had emerged as a possible alternative alongwith the UAE after the India-England Test series, the IPL Chief Operating Officer (COO) and BCCI’s interim CEO Hemang Amin has got the buy-in from the top brass of Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah of opting for the tried and tested venues of the UAE.

The UAE has now hosted the IPL twice, first the opening leg of it in 2014 and then again last year under challenging circumstances when it was moved from India due to the pandemic.

A news agency report says that the tentative date proposed to resume the IPL in UAE is now September 18-19 with double headers squeezed in the available weekends, though the the Indian board is likely to face a number of logistical 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 bi-lateral series are already scheduled to be played there, while the UAE is also the stand by to host the World T20.

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