A few days after the BCCI announced that the second phase of IPL 2021 will move to the UAE, their vice-president Rajeev Shukla has indicated its starting date. The BCCI had to postpone IPL 2021 indefinitely in the first week of May after 29 matches since four franchises reported a handful of COVID-19 positive cases. Rajeev Shukla hinted that the second leg of the tournament could start on the 19th of September to end on the 10th of October. and that UAE would be the second option for the T20 World Cup.
While India remained in the fray for the IPL 2021 to resume, the BCCI, in their Special General Meeting (SGM), decided to shift the proceedings due to the monsoons in the sub-continent nation around September-October. Thus, UAE will stage the remaining 31 games of the tournament. The UAE has already successfully hosted the 2020 edition of the competition. However, while the last year’s event in the country witnessed a few COVID-19 positive cases before the event, there was none once it began.
Rajeev Shukla revealed that the franchises are happy as they backed the UAE to host it, with England being out of contention due to the weather conditions. The 61-year old claimed that they will abide by all the COVID-19 protocols that apply to India and the UAE. Shukla indicated that the tournament could start on the 19th of September and the final could take place on the 10th of October. With the T20 World Cup looming and the top-notch facilities in the UAE, they saw it as a suitable choice.
“They are all very happy. From day one, they have been backing the UAE. There were some media reports about England hosting the remaining matches, but there’s a weather problem in England where it rains a lot. Whatever, Covid protocols on vaccination are required, we will be following those protocols, the Indian protocols as well as the UAE protocols. Also, we have got about 20 days to complete the tournament. Even if we start on September 19, by the 10th of October we have to finish it. Then there’s a T20 World Cup October-November also. So keeping the weather in mind and the top-class facilities, the UAE was the best option,” Shukla said as quoted by News18.com.
Our first choice is India: Rajeev Shukla
Rajeev Shukla highlighted that they have discussed the issue with the T20 World Cup, asserting that India remains their first-choice venue as they would be seeking time with the ICC to have more deliberation. He claimed that if the COVID-19 situation does not improve towards the end of June or the first week of July, UAE will stage it. If it does, India’s hosting plans remain on the cards.
“That issue also has been deliberated. Our first choice is India. So we will be seeking some time from the ICC, a month or so, to decide about it. If towards the end of June or maybe, the first week of July, the situation is not good there India, then obviously it will come to the UAE. If the situation improves in India and we are able to host it, then we will be hosting there,” he added.