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Rajeev Shukla Hints IPL 2021 Could Restart on September 19, UAE Second Option for T20 World Cup

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The IPL 2021 was suspended midway due to few positive cases in certain teams, on May 4. Now it is expected to start mid-September.

BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla has arrived in the UAE to lay the groundwork for the remaining leg of IPL 2021, while president Sourav Ganguly, Jay Shah and IPL chairman Brijesh Patel will reach the country soon, according to a report in Khaleej Times. The IPL 2021 was suspended midway due to few positive cases in certain teams, on May 4. Now it is expected to start mid-September.

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“I am already here. Now a team of BCCI office-bearers, president (Sourav Ganguly), secretary (Jay Shah) and the IPL chairman (Brijesh Patel) will be coming here in a couple of days,” Shukla told Khaleej Times.

“We will be having discussions with the cricket board here and the other authorities. And accordingly the schedule will be made, so the tournament happens in a very smooth manner as it happened here last year,” said Shukla.

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Shukla informed that the decision to invite spectators for the matches, lies in the hands of the Emirates Cricket Board. For now, 29 matches of the IPL 2021 are done, and 31 matches remain now.

“The only issue is about the spectators, whether they will allow the spectators or not. So we will talk to them about that. We will go by whatever UAE authorities decide,” Shukla said.

“If they say it’s with spectators, and certain percentage of spectators, we are fine. Or if they say without spectators, that is also fine with us. There is no problem.”

The IPL is expected to begin on September 18, four days after India’s Test series in England gets over. While the same bio-bubble will be used for IPL, some of the foreign stars are expected to miss the tournament.

“We have discussed that (foreign players) issue also. Our main focus is on completing this edition of the IPL. It should not be left halfway through. So whichever foreign players are available is fine. Whoever is not available, it is not going to stop us from hosting the tournament,” Shukla said.

“The Indian players are there, foreign players are there, but few foreign players will not be available. As I said, we have to complete our tournament.

“So the franchises will definitely look for other players. Whoever is available, we are going to have the tournament with them. That’s our policy.”

He also said that the players will be vaccinated before the tournament starts. “Whatever, Covid protocols (on vaccination) are required, we will be following those protocols, the Indian protocols as well as the UAE protocols,” Shukla said.

Also, the franchises are happy with the way things are being planned. “They are all very happy. From day one, they have been backing the UAE. There were some media reports about England (hosting the remaining matches), but there’s a weather problem in England where it rains a lot,” he said.

“Also, we have got about 20 days to complete the tournament. Even if we start on September 19, by the 10th of October we have to finish it. Then there’s a T20 World Cup (October-November) also. So keeping the weather in mind and the top-class facilities, the UAE was the best option.”

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He also made a big revelation about the T20 World Cup. “That issue also has been deliberated. Our first choice is India. So we will be seeking some time from the ICC, a month or so, to decide about it,” said Shukla.

“If towards the end of June or maybe, the first week of July, the situation is not good there (India), then obviously it (T20 World Cup) will come to the UAE.

“If the situation improves (in India) and we are able to host it, then we will be hosting there (in India).”

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first published:May 31, 2021, 10:06 IST