IPL 2021: ‘Overseas challenge’ a huge headache for BCCI& |  Photo Credit: AP, File Image
- IPL 2021 campaign is likely to resume mid-September after India vs England Test series
- Not all overseas players, signed up by the franchises, will be available
- International cricket schedule and quarantine norms will be hugely challenging for the BCCI and franchises to manage
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 Phase-2 is edging closer to its resumption, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) looking at the mid-September to mid-October window. While UAE is all but confirmed to host the matches whenever the Season 14 resumes, having a full-fledged tournament with all overseas players still looks like a distant dream.
The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has already confirmed that its players will not be available for the remainder of the IPL while Australian cricketers had also expressed their apprehensions. In the absence of such foreign stars, the IPL looks more like a glorified version of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
It isn’t just the overseas players’ availability that is a concern for the BCCI but also the quarantine norms. While the Indian players will have a bubble-to-bubble transfer after the completion of the Test series in England on September 14, the others would need to follow quarantine norms.
The franchises are likely to form the bubble and take over the available players to UAE in the last week of August. The domestic Indian players as well as those Indian and overseas players who do not have any other commitments can be flown to UAE in advance. But what about the rest?
Teams like England, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have a packed schedule during the suggested window for IPL 2021 phase 2.
England will take on Bangladesh in a limited-overs series before also locking horns with Pakistan. The absence of English players will hurt all franchises considering their extensive participation.
New Zealand also have a limited-overs series planned against Pakistan during this period in the UAE while Afghanistan and Pakistan are also set to lock horns in the suggested window.
Players from Australia, West Indies and South Africa are fairly available though there would be certain clashes due to the Caribbean Premier League campaign which will conclude on September 15.
Most teams would be relatively weaker when Phase-2 of IPL 2021 resumes mid-September. In such a case, those who haven’t had a good first half of the season would find it really tough to make amends in the second period.