The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reportedly probing the idea of hosting IPL 2021 across multiple cities in India. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entirety of IPL 2020 was staged in the UAE.
However, BCCI is open to the possibility of hosting the upcoming edition of the cash-rich league in India itself as things return to normalcy.
If sources are to be believed, the BCCI is eyeing organising the tournament in four to five cities. The same has been confirmed by a source close to the developments.
“We are exploring the possibility of conducting the IPL at more venues than originally planned. The intent is to take it to more fans as the situation is moving towards normalcy,” the BCCI official stated.
“The feasibility of the bio-secure bubble and logistics will of course be crucial to determine the venues finally. It is a fluid situation and the health of the participants is our primary concern.”
BCCI draw up shortlist of suitable cities
The source further revealed that BCCI has also shortlisted a few cities in the running to host IPL 2021. In addition to Mumbai and Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow are the other venues being considered.
All the franchises involved are also believed to be open to IPL 2021 being spread out across cities in India.
But at the same time an IPL franchise official ultimately admitted there are also challenges since the pandemic situation can change quickly in different cities.
“See, there is still some time left for the league to get underway, but we are more than keen to play the league across a few cities,” the franchise official said.
“The worry with hosting it in one city is that the COVID-19 situation is constantly changing.
So, if by chance one of the cities picked sees a situation where it gets difficult to host the games, another city can go ahead and logistically it will be easier for the board and the franchises.”
The mini-auction for IPL 2021 on February 18 witnessed 57 players being picked up by the franchises. While 22 were overseas acquisitions, the Indian contingent made up for the rest. Notably, Chris Morris became the most expensive player in IPL history after joining Rajasthan Royals for INR 16.25 crores.