Arun Dhumal, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer, says the board was pretty confident that they would be able to conduct the IPL 2021 in India successfully. However, the tournament had to be suspended, on Tuesday, after 29 matches being played out following the covid cases in 4 franchises.
Apart from hosting the tournament in India, which even before the IPL commenced was a critically covid hit country, the question of playing in 6 different cities also demands attention.
However, Arun Dhumal pointed out that prior to the IPL, India and England played out an all-format tour in 3 different cities – Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune – without any glitches. This emboldened the BCCI to conduct the IPL in a caravan model – 2 cities being used at a time – however as the teams went from Chennai and Mumbai to Ahmedabad and Delhi, the tournament couldn’t last much after its first leg.
He also said had they known that the covid situation will worsen quickly at home they would have, in fact, conducted IPL 2021 outside India.
“In a normal scenario, we would have had more venues, like Indore and Pune. They also used to host IPL games. When we were conducting the England series, everything went so smoothly that we thought that it’s time to take cricket back to each zone. At least, the main centres of India.
“The IPL should have been played in all areas. We all thought that after what the country went through in 2020, the IPL will boost the spirit of the country. We conducted a dummy run and planned out things. When the England series was conducted in Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune, the situation was far better,” Arun Dhumal told The Indian Express.
“As things went so smoothly, we all were quite confident that we will be able to conduct the IPL smoothly. Who would have imagined such a situation will arise? Had we known, we could have held the IPL overseas. It was during the time when things were getting normal that we took the call. We were quite confident that we will pull it off,” he added.
IPL is not complete until our players reach their homes safe: Arun Dhumal
In the release which announced the suspension of the IPL, the BCCI also said it would “do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021”.
Arun Dhumal, who is the younger brother of former BCCI president Anurag Thakur, said the BCCI would adhere to its promise and make sure the overseas players reach their countries safely.
While England, South Africa, New Zealand, and Bangladesh players are allowed in their countries but have to undergo a mandatory quarantine period, the Australian contingent is expected to fly to the Maldives as the Australian government has banned the flights from India until May 15.
“We stand by our word that for us, the IPL is not complete until our players and officials reach their homes safe and secure. We are working on that and will come out with a detailed plan in two days,” Arun Dhumal further stated.