The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to host the remaining matches of the 2021 Indian T20 league in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The announcement came after a decision was taken at the Special General Meeting (SGM) which was attended by the BCCI members. The BCCI has taken the decision to move the cash-rich tournament out of India citing poor weather in the months of September-October. 

The UAE has been chosen as the venue to complete the remaining 31 games of the Indian T20 league as the gulf nation successfully hosted the 2020 edition. 

Earlier on May 3, the first signs of the Covid-19 virus spreading into the bio-bubble was reported, after a couple of Kolkata players tested positive ahead of their match against Bangalore. Soon after, players and support staff from Chennai also fell prey to the dreadful disease. 

On May 4, when reports indicated that the virus was spreading thick and fast to the rest of the teams, the BCCI was forced to postpone the league indefinitely. At that time, only 29 games were finished.  

Reportedly, the BCCI is looking to resume the league around September 18-19, with the finals on October 9-10.

But perhaps, the biggest challenge will be to host the tournament without some marquee overseas players. Already the England and Wales Cricket Board has declared that it won’t allow its players to participate in the remaining part of the Indian T20 league. It will also be interesting to see how the West Indian stars reach the UAE in time to represent their respective teams. The Caribbean T20 league will start on August 19 and will only end on September 19. 

It is also learnt that the BCCI has requested the franchises to look for options elsewhere to rebuild their line-ups. 

As per reports, the BCCI has also requested more time from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to contemplate and decide on hosting the T20 World Cup in India. Due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, doubts have been raised on whether the tournament should be staged in India or not.

Featured Image: AFP/ Manjunath Kiran