The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) could well be dress-rehearsal for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking to shortlist the same six cities that it has locked in for the latest season of the cash-rich league.
Last week, the BCCI announced that IPL 2021 will be hosted in six cities- Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Chennai- with the knockouts set to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Initially, the BCCI had decided to shortlist eight cities which include Mohali and Dharamsala to host the T20 World Cup but that plan has more or less been put on a back burner in order to avoid travel complications as the apex body aims to use the same cluster-caravan format as in IPL 2021.
Unlike the IPL which is an eight-team event, the ICC T20 World Cup will be a 16-team affair with it getting reduced to 12 teams in the second round.
The first round involved the qualifiers for the main draw and the BCCI is mulling over hosting the entire preliminary stage at Mohali and Dharamsala.
“Moving from one city to the other for one match will come with a huge risk. If the venue count is down, it will help us in delivering a smooth tournament. If need be, a similar schedule like IPL where matches are restricted to not more than two cities at a given point of time will be considered. We have to be as flexible as possible,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
The BCCI is planning to host the main event across six cities and Chennai and Bengaluru are being pushed to host the semi-finals while the summit clash is more-or-less likely to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. That said, with Mumbai and Kolkata boasting of rich cricketing culture and history of hosting marquee clashes, they are still not ruled out from the contention of staging knockout fixtures.