IPL 2021: Five changes likely to impact competition in UAE

IPL 2021: Five changes likely to impact competition in UAE

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) became one of the most high-profile sporting events to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. 

The cash-rich T20 league, which began on April 9 with the match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), was scheduled to be concluded on May 30 with Ahmedabad the venue set to host the final. 

However, just 25 days after the competition started, news emerged of multiple coronavirus cases in more than one franchises which led to the postponement of the event. 

The news was an expected one, especially considering the Covid-19 situation in India which was the most affected country in the region with the most number of cases and deaths reported in the world during the same time period. 

Once the tournament was put on hold, the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly was quoted in different media outlets saying that the remaining competition is unlikely to be organised in India. 

Different media reports suggested later that the BCCI have identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the possible venue for the remaining matches of the competition in September/ October later this year. 

The venue already hosted the 2020 edition of the competition and is currently hosting the 20 matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 which was also postponed in March after a coronavirus outbreak. 

We have identified five possible changes likely to impact the competition once it will resume in

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) became one of the most high-profile sporting events to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. 

The cash-rich T20 league, which began on April 9 with the match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), was scheduled to be concluded on May 30 with Ahmedabad the venue set to host the final. 

However, just 25 days after the competition started, news emerged of multiple coronavirus cases in more than one franchises which led to the postponement of the event. 

The news was an expected one, especially considering the Covid-19 situation in India which was the most affected country in the region with the most number of cases and deaths reported in the world during the same time period. 

Once the tournament was put on hold, the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly was quoted in different media outlets saying that the remaining competition is unlikely to be organised in India. 

Different media reports suggested later that the BCCI have identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the possible venue for the remaining matches of the competition in September/ October later this year. 

The venue already hosted the 2020 edition of the competition and is currently hosting the 20 matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 which was also postponed in March after a coronavirus outbreak. 

We have identified five possible changes likely to impact the competition once it will resume in the coming months.

Longer quarantine: 

UAE has already put India as one of the countries whose residents are not allowed to enter the country because of the deteriorating health situation. The authorities were extremely strict in allowing even broadcast crew to enter the country for the PSL and therefore participants who will take part in the competition will have to go through a rigorous quarantine, first inside India and later upon landing in the UAE. 

Change of team combination: 

With the tournament now set to be organised in a window that was not originally designated for the competition, a lot of players are unlikely to be available for the remaining matches of the IPL 2021. Players from England, in particular, will not be able to participate and it will be interesting to see whether other boards will be fine in letting go of any of their prized asset in taking part in a league just weeks before the ICC T20 World Cup. Therefore, players who performed well in the previous Big Bash League (BBL), as well as the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), might have to fill the void. 

Changes in bio-secure bubble arrangements: 

The tournament might feature the reintroduction of a firm to establish a foolproof bio-secure bubble. BCCI hired a firm during the 2020 edition to make sure that there were no breaches in the competition but for the 2021 edition, the arrangements were conducted on a local basis. However, after a successful organisation of PSL in the UAE, the BCCI are likely to follow the same path in hiring a firm to make sure nothing unpleasant in the event. 

Changes in conditions: 

With the tournament set to be hosted on three different venues—Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi—the playing conditions will be very different compared to the ones in India where the pitches are true and scoring runs is much easier compared to anywhere in the subcontinent. Therefore, it can impact the outcome of the matches. 

Changes in match timings: 

Considering the extreme weather conditions in the UAE, BCCI might opt to start matches at a time when the heat will reduce to make sure that the players will avoid unnecessary injuries.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Azeem Siddiqui
Passionate sports follower in the field of sports journalism for more than five years. Loves writing about cricket, football, and tennis.
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