The UAE is fast emerging as the preferred venue for the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 with the backing of the BCCI’s interim CEO Hemang Amin. The Emirates has already successfully hosted the IPL twice – once in 2014 and the other during the pandemic in 2020 and the teams, players, support staff, administrators and broadcasters are familiar with the protocols and procedures. It also gives the BCCI no headaches with respect to weather with dry conditions prevailing in September-October which may not be the case in England where rain may play spoilsport.
It is being learnt that the BCCI’S interim CEO and also the COO of the IPL, Hemang Amin, has already chalked out two different plans and schedules for the remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 – one for the UAE and the other for England with the Indian Board very keen to host the marquee league in the window between mid September and mid October.
The BCCI will take the final call when the Special General Meeting (SGM) takes place on the 29th of May.
Amin was credited with the planning and execution of a successful 2020 IPL in the UAE which went smoothly for all the stakeholders including the teams, support staff and broadcasters. There was no breach of the tight bio-secure bubbles and the three cities in the Emirates pulled off a splendid tournament even as Covid-19 surged all around the world.
Amin reportedly also wanted to host the 2021 edition in the UAE but the BCCI’s all-powerful office-bearers were hellbent to host the event in India. As things panned out the bio-bubble was breached with many players and support staff testing positive and the tournament was suspended mid-way.
Amin has now requested the BCCI to consider UAE as the preferred option and he has listed a number of reasons for his choice.
The major worry against hosting the prestigious league in England is the unpredictable weather. Mid-September onwards witnesses a huge amount of rainfall in England which is almost unabated in October which also is outside the calendar of the English summer with some venues experiencing very cold weather. The BCCI would have paid a large amount of hosting fees to the ECB to conduct the IPL in their country and cannot take the risk of matches being washed away in England.
In complete contrast, the UAE has hot and dry weather in September which begins to cool down by the beginning of October – as experienced by the teams last year in 2020.
Another bone of contention is the high costs involved in organizing the tournament in the United Kingdom as the Pound is more expensive than the UAE Dirham.
Familiarity of the venue also tilts the balance in UAE’s favour. It hosted a part of the matches in the 2014 edition of the IPL and successfully conducted the entire season in 2020 despite the many prevailing challenges due to Covid-19. The Emirates Cricket Board is on friendly terms with the BCCI and had laid down a red carpet for the Indian Cricket Board to conduct the tournament in its three major cities in 2020 – and once again they are keen to host the remainder of the IPL this year in September.
The various franchises and the players are well versed with the protocols and procedures and familiarity of conditions and it would be easier to again create a bio-secure bubble in the UAE. The hotels and support staff are also aware of the rules and regulations and quarantine procedures having done the needful the previous season.
The only thing which works for the United Kingdom is the novelty and prestige factor. The BCCI has already taken the IPL to South Africa and the UAE and taking it to England will truly make the Indian league global.
The BCCI is expected to make a decision within the next week and should make the final choice soon and start preparing for the event.