The Indian Premier League is no longer a stranger to the impact of the pandemic. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had to make plenty of adjustments for the last two editions of the league to ensure everyone’s safety and this year, they still aim to do so. This means that there is still a possibility that the 2022 edition of the IPL will be staged outside India.
What’s for sure is that cricket fans will still be all over the event. People will still be streaming the matches live and will place their bets on sites like 10CRIC India. The 2022 IPL is something not to be missed because the league itself will be going through some changes. For the first time in a while, the IPL will be a 10-team affair again with Lucknow and Ahmedabad as the additional teams.
The BCCI Meets About IPL 2022 Venue
The BCCI recently had a meeting to discuss where the event will take place. Last year’s IPL was successful but it was a bit rough for everybody. The league started in India and the BCCI had confidence that it will run uninterrupted. However, in May last year, India experienced a surge in COVID cases the tournament had to be postponed and eventually moved to UAE.
This year, the BCCI also has high hopes that the tournament will start and end in India. However, they are still working on a backup plan just if the COVID 19 cases in the country don’t go down by the time the IPL 2022 starts on March 27. This is a tentative date that IPL Governing Council and Chairman Brijesh said recently. If it starts in the last week of March, it will run until the end of May.
Sources that have information about the meeting that recently took place said that if the venue will be in India this year, multiple grounds in Mumbai and Pune are available and considered. It’s not without reason because if the matches will be held within Mumbai and Pune, the league will be able to only utilize road travel which could eliminate pandemic-related risks that are associated with air travel.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah released a statement last week about the tournament being staged in India. Shah said, “I am delighted to confirm that the 15th season of the IPL will start in the last week of March and will run until May end.
“A majority of the team owners expressed their wish that the tournament is held in India. The BCCI was always keen on staging the 2022 edition that will see two new teams – Ahmedabad and Lucknow – in India. I can tell you that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that IPL stays in India.
“The BCCI has not compromised on the health and safety of its stakeholders in the past and will concurrently work on Plan B since the COVID-19 situation with new variants remains fluid. The mega IPL Auction will take place on February 12-13th and we will lock in venues before that.”
If India Cannot Accommodate
India is going through the third wave of the pandemic, particularly the Omicron variant. If the cases in the country don’t subside anytime soon, the BCCI is looking at UAE and South Africa as alternatives. There are also talks that BCCI might consider looking for venues in Sri Lanka. Wherever it will be, likely, bio-secure bubbles will still be utilized.
Sources say that the league including the teams are mainly torn whether the better alternative venue is UAE or South Africa. Some franchises pointed out that the three venues that UAE has will make the results of the matches predictable based on the previous IPL season and the T20 World Cup held there last year as well.
However, there are also some who are completely fine with the matches being held in UAE again because there will be no internal travel involved. Many see UAE as a safe place to hold a tournament during a pandemic.
When it comes to South Africa, it also has advantages which include multiple venues. Still, whether the event will be staged in the UAE or South Africa, travel will come with risks. If there’s anything that should be thoroughly considered regarding venues is that there will be no available window this year that could accommodate a postponed IPL season. The venue that the BCCI decides should be the only venue for this year.