The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has hinted the fate of spectators in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, saying that allowing crowds into the venues could pose a potential “risk” and would have been a bigger logistical issue compared to letting in limited fans during the recently-concluded Test series versus England.
According to Ganguly, the IPL table in 2021 travel plan was mapped on the similar lines of the India-England series, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and the Vijay Hazare Trophy. “We’ve done it in clusters,” he said. “So there will be three flights maximum for every team, hopefully we’ll manage. Because, see, with the England tour, India have gone to Chennai, Ahmedabad and will go to Pune.”
Ganguly also highlighted the difference between hosting the IPL, an eight-team event, compared to a bilateral series. “Don’t know yet, depends on the situation,” Ganguly told a local news outlet. “It’s [IPL] slightly different than a bilateral [series]. If you open up to crowds, there are teams playing in middle, there are teams practising outside as well.
Earlier this week, the Board Shah announced the full schedule for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, with the cash-rich tournament set to commence on April 9 behind closed doors. The T20 tournament will be played at six venues but there will be “no home games” for any of the eight franchises. It will be first played in Chennai, with Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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“Lot of these stadiums have practice pitches outside, and teams practice there because they play every day. So to open it up to crowds, you expect them to get closer to the practicing teams. So that could be a bit of a risk,” Ganguly added. He didn’t give any details nor mention about considering having crowds back for IPL. “Don’t know yet, depends on situation,” he said, citing 2020 IPL in the UAE.
It is learnt that the cricket competition was shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year as India grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will see where it goes, what opportunities come in the way, we will take it from there,” Ganguly said when asked what’s next after cricket administration. The newly-renovated Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the final match on 30th May, 2021
Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium will host the playoffs as well as the May 30 final, with Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata being the other venues. It will be a 52-day tournament with 60 matches in total. “The fixtures have been mapped in a way that every team will travel only three times during the league stage, thus reducing commute and minimising risk,” Shah said in an earlier statement.
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