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B Baskar | Updated on May 06, 2021

The BCCI took its time but was right in calling off the IPL

So the 14th edition of the IPL is finally off. It took a few players and coaching staff to get affected by the dreaded coronavirus for the Board of Control for Cricket in India to call off the IPL. But it was the right decision even though the BCCI took its time.

Despite the tall claims of secure bio-bubbles, that the matches were being held in cities which saw heavy case loads made the risk of ‘bubble-breach’ greater. Now, transporting the foreign players safely to their countries is the next challenge. That several countries, including Australia and Bangladesh, have banned flights from India has further compounded the matter. For now the Australian players and coaching staff have moved to countries like Maldives and Sri Lanka from where they hope to head home.

In hindsight it would have made more sense to hold this year’s IPL too in the UAE. Last year’s successful IPL in the UAE had justly earned the BCCI plaudits. The T20 World Cup being held in India in October may have tempted the BCCI to hold the IPL at home, which proved to be a costly mistake.

Now comes the scheduling headache. The BCCI has been clear that the IPL is merely postponed and not scrapped and is looking at a September window to finish the cash-rich tournament. But the Indian team leaves for England next month to play the World Test Championship finals and a Test series against England. And the T20 World Cup is scheduled for October-November. So the IPL has to be squeezed in September.

Also with a top scientific advisor to the government warning of a third wave later this year has surely created doubts over India hosting the T20 World Cup. The UAE is again being spoken of as an alternative venue. Also, given the devastating impact wrought by the second wave, foreign players will be wary of travelling to India in future.

For now, everyone is keeping mum on the financial implications. But if IPL ‘Phase-II’ is a truncated one, then a haircut by the franchises, BCCI, players and broadcasters is inevitable.

Published on May 06, 2021

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