The Indian Premier League, suspended as a new coronavirus wave hit India, will be finished in the United Arab Emirates in September and October, India’s national cricket board said Saturday.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India also said it will ask the global governing body for more time to make a decision on whether the Twenty20 World Cup should be held in India in October and November.
The IPL, the world’s richest cricket tournament, was half finished when it was halted on May 4 after a number of players and team officials caught coronavirus despite being in bio-secure bubbles.
The board has since been in tough negotiations with other countries and the International Cricket Council on when to squeeze the remaining matches into the crowded international calendar.
About 160,000 people have died in India since April 1 in a devastating wave that has seen hospitals overwhelmed. There are fears that the country could be hit by another surge later this year.
The BCCI said it was moving the remaining matches to the UAE — which staged all of last year’s IPL — because of the monsoon season and did not mention the pandemic.
The board said a special general meeting had ‘unanimously agreed’ for the remaining matches to be held in the UAE ‘considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year.’
The monsoon season is generally considered to run from June to mid-September.
The World Cup is due to be held in India from October but it is also at risk from the pandemic threat.
The BCCI said the general meeting authorised its leaders ‘to seek an extension of time from the ICC to take an appropriate call on the hosting of ICC T20 World Cup 2021.’
The tournament is due to be discussed by the ICC next Tuesday, though no decision is expected to be taken.
No deadline to announce whether the tournament will be moved has been publicly set, but cricket officials say a decision will have to be taken in ‘weeks.’
– Back to the bio-bubble –
The ICC has meanwhile given details of the pandemic precautions that players will take before going to the World Test Championship final against New Zealand starting on June 18 in Southampton, England.
The British government has given a special exemption from its coronavirus rules so that the inaugural championship can be held.
The Indian team will be in their own bio-bubble for 14 days before arriving in England on June 3.
Every player must provide a negative Covid-19 certificate.
They will be taken to a hotel that is part of Hampshire’s Rose Bowl complex, where they will be tested again before beginning a new ‘managed isolation’ with more tests, the ICC said in a statement.
With each round of tests, players will go from “exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the bio-secure venue.”
New Zealand are already in England preparing for a Test series against the host nation.