The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 was indefinitely postponed on Tuesday due to the multiple COVID-19 cases across teams. While fans and pundits have questions the BCCI for keeping multiple venues for the T20 tournament at a time when India is fighting the second wave of the coronavirus, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal has said that they would have held the IPL 2021 overseas had they knew this situation was going to arise.
Dhumal said that the series between India and England boosted the confidence that IPL 2021 could be held in multiple venues in India and the board wanted to boost the spirit of the country through the IPL.
The BCCI treasurer further said that no one imagined such a situation would arise and everyone was quite confident of pulling off the tournament.
“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,” Dhumal told the Indian Express.
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“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. 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.
Since the postponement, the biggest question being asked to the BCCI is what was the need of conducting the IPL in multiple venues? Could it have been played in a single venue?
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“It was never discussed then because nobody knew what was coming. What was the guarantee that if we had hosted it in one city like Mumbai, there would have been no cases? When we started, Mumbai was the worst- affected city. Then too, there would have been criticism. At that point of time, this was the best option we had,” Dhumal explained.
While some of the players have already returned back to their bases, there are a few still waiting for the quarantine to be over. Dhumal said the BCCI is still standing by its word that IPL isn’t over until the participants reach their homes safe and secure.
“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,” Dhumal quipped.
When asked when the fans can expect the IPL 2021 to resume, Dhumal said they haven’t discussed anything about a potential window in future and want to focus on players’ return.
“We haven’t discussed anything as all our focus is now on ensuring players, support staff and officials reach home safely. When a window is available, we will hold it,” Dhumal said.