As per reports in ESPN Cricinfo, the BCCI is planning to host all the remaining IPL games in Mumbai amid the COVID crisis. The number of cases are increasing manifold in the country everyday and the crisis has hit the IPL as well with players and support staff of two franchises getting affected. Meanwhile, ff things go to plan, Mumbai could be hosting matches as early as the coming weekend.
Hosting all the matches in Mumbai will also mean a replanning of the IPL schedule. The number of doubleheaders are likely to increase with reports of the IPL 2021 final being postponed to June. The tournament could be shifted as early as May 07 to the new host city.
It is understood that the BCCI team made calls on Monday to various big hotels in Mumbai to verify if they were capable of satisfying the various SOPs needed to create a team bubble. No BCCI and IPL official was available for comment. Franchises, too, have not heard of the plan formally, but some say they will not be surprised if the Mumbai plan was acted on.
BCCI Planning To Host Remaining IPL Games In Mumbai
Meanwhile, the biggest challenge for the BCCI is to set up COVID protocols for all eight franchises and also ensure the safety and security of the players as well. Mumbai has three venues in total. Wankhede stadium has already hosted 10 games with DY Patil and Brabourne stadium used by teams for practice sessions.
As per the Times of India, the BCCI officials are already working to sort out the logistics for the franchises, of which air-travel seems to be the most tricky task. The next phase of league games are scheduled to be played in Kolkata and Bangalore. However, with the recent cases teams are not willing to travel to other cities.
“Stadiums, hotel-booking and air-travel will be BCCI’s biggest challenges. Stadiums have to be made match-ready, hotels are a concern because some are Covid centres, especially in south Mumbai. The Board is working on it. Air-travel has to be coordinated well. Entry and exit points at the airports have been a matter of concern. Many franchises who did their own internal contact-tracing concluded that airport terminals may have led to a breach in the bio-bubble,” sources tracking developments said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai has been the worst affected city by COVID, with almost 10,000 new cases every day. Monday’s case count was 2,662, the lowest daily tally since March 17. It was a steep drop from a month ago – 11,163 covid-19 cases on April 4, the highest-ever number in the pandemic.