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BCCI facing hurdles to host remainder of Indian T20 League in UAE

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently announced that the 2021 edition of the Indian T20 League, which was postponed earlier this month due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, will likely resume on September 18 or 19 in UAE. It was also reported that the cash-rich tournament would end tentatively on October 9 or 10. 

However, the BCCI have quite a few challenges to overcome as they prepare to stage the remaining 31 games of the Indian T20 League in the UAE, leading up to the T20 World Cup. 

Given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India, it is almost certain that the T20 World Cup will not be held in the country. As per various reports, the ICC event is likely to be hosted in UAE too, meaning the wickets at Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will need to be maintained as per international standards

If the Indian T20 League does go ahead in the UAE, the pitches at these venues will get affected, due to the daily wear and tear, which will then hamper the quality of games at the T20 World Cup. 

It has also been reported by ESPN Cricinfo that the ICC is considering hosting initial games of the T20 World Cup in Oman, provided the UAE government gives permission to cross the border without quarantining. If the talks succeed, then the pitches in the UAE will get adequate time to be match ready. 

The other big worry for the BCCI will be ensuring that the West Indian stars arrive in time for the Indian T20 League. Since the Caribbean T20 League is set to be held from August 28-September 19, some franchises will be worried about the availability of their West Indian players. 

In this case, the BCCI will want the Caribbean T20 League dates to be altered to ensure the West Indian players don’t miss out on any action. However, the Caribbean T20 League too will need assistance from the West Indian cricket board in shortening their home season against Pakistan, South Africa and Australia. 

The participation of the English cricketers is also in doubt. Recently, ECB’s director of cricket, Ashley Giles indicated that the English players will give priority to bilateral series in Pakistan and Bangladesh ahead of the T20 World Cup. New Zealand are also slated to play a white-ball series in September-October. 

With several challenges confronting the BCCI, it will be interesting to see what arrangements the richest cricket board will come up with in order to conduct the remaining part of the 2021 Indian T20 League.

Featured Image: AFP/ Dibyangshu Sarkar

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