IPL 2021 to commence on April 9 behind closed doors

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has 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.

“The IPL this year at home will be played behind closed doors to begin with and a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said speaking about IPL 2021 time table. 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.

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 added.

The newly-renovated Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the final match on 30th May, 2021. “We had a safe and successful edition last year in the UAE. The BCCI is confident of hosting the 14th edition at home. Safety of players and others involved in the tournament is paramount for us,” Shah said. The announcement came just days after Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been postponed.

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The remainder of the PSL 2021 has been postponed after three more players had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the tally of infected individuals in the biosecure bubble rose to seven, of which six were players. PCB chief executive Wasim Khan also admitted breaches of COVID-19 protocols in the bio-secure bubble have caused the postponement..

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 situation is under control in India but states like Maharashtra have witnessed a spike in the number of fresh cases. Originally Mumbai, which is home to defending champions Mumbai Indians, was meant to be the centerpiece venue of the event. However, with the surge in infection, the Indian Board decided to switch it from a different venue.

The IPL governing council said that the tournament will begin with closed doors matches and a decision to allow spectators will be taken at a later stage “There will be a total of 11 double headers where 6 teams will play three afternoon matches & two teams will play two afternoon matches. The afternoon games are slated for a 3:30 PM IST start while the evening games will have a 7:30 PM IST start,” the BCCI statement added.

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