The IPL 2021 season got a major shot in the arm with Cricket West Indies (CWI) rescheduling the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in order to accommodate the coveted Indian league which is slated to get underway in the UAE from the 19th of September. This is a major triumph for the BCCI as West Indian players are an integral part of several IPL franchises and provide the X-factor to the tournament.
The dates for the 2021 edition of the CPL have been revised and the competition will now take place from August 26 to September 15 in St Kitts and Nevis. It was originally scheduled to start on August 28, and end on September 19. The altered dates do mean a tight and packed home season for CWI with South Africa, Australia and Pakistan set to tour the Caribbean in the period.
The change of dates of the CPL help the BCCI in two major ways. Firstly, there are many star players who are part of both the CPL and the IPL. Also, a number of support staff are involved with both the leagues. Then the owners of Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings own teams in the CPL too - the Trinbago Knight Riders and the St Lucia Zouks respectively. The BCCI was also keen for an early exit of the IPL-bound contingent from the Caribbean to the UAE keeping in mind quarantine and bio-bubble protocols in the country and other arrangements which needs to be made for the tournament.
“Both IPL and CPL are important to CWI, to our cricketers and to fans. CWI’s role was to facilitate arrangements for a non-overlapping and smooth transition from one tournament to the next. Cricket administrators must collaborate if cricket is to survive the risks and costs of Covid-19," stated Ricky Skerritt, the CWI president to Cricinfo.
With one major hurdle crossed for the BCCI, now the other big challenge would be to get Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board to make available their players for the remainder of the IPL.
The 2021 edition of the IPL was suspended in early May half-way into the tournament after a number of bio-bubbles were breached and Covid-19 cases were reported amongst players and support staff.