Kolkata: The United Arab Emirates will again be kept as an option even though the Indian cricket board wants to host the 2021 edition of Indian Premier League in ‘‘limited venues’’ in the country this year.
The IPL Governing Council, in their first meeting of the year, discussed both possibilities and decided to ‘‘wait and watch’’ before finalising the venue for the event scheduled in April-May. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had shifted the IPL 2020 to the UAE in a late move as the COVID-19 pandemic had spiralled out of control midway in 2020.
‘‘The India-UAE friendship transcends all boundaries as there is mutual admiration and respect. We share a great working relationship with the Emirates Cricket Board. The facilities there are world class. If you remember, the IPL first came to UAE in 2014 and the BCCI also hosted the Asia Cup in 2018 before conducting the 13th season of IPL. UAE has always been our preferred venue,’’ Jay Shah, secretary of BCCI, had told Gulf News in an interview recently.
In case of limited venues within India, the top contenders for staging the tournament include Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. These venues were under consideration even last year before the pandemic forced the BCCI to move IPL to three venues in the UAE.
The Governing Council also discussed timeline for the franchises to revise squads. The franchises may be asked to confirm retained players by January 21 and a trading window may continue till the end of the month. The Players’ Auction will be scheduled around February 10.
The BCCI is expected to formally announce the timelines later this week, once president Sourav Ganguly is discharged from the hospital.