The 14th edition of the India Premier League (IPL) still at least a month away but three franchises – Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad – have questioned the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to hold the T20 league in only six cities this year. Although, the BCCI is yet to officially announce the venues for IPL 2021, it is largely believed that Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Ahmedabad will be the venues for the league this year due to various COVID-19 restrictions in India.
According to a leading cricket website, the BCCI have also kept the option open of hosting a few games in Mumbai – the home venue of defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians, although Maharashtra have recently imposed lockdown in certain cities due to rising COVID-19 cases.
“We three teams will be badly affected. The teams doing well are the ones who do well at home, win five or six home games and a few away, and that will take you through to the play-offs. Those five teams (Royals Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians) will have the home advantage, we will have to put up with all away game,” a franchise official was quoted as saying by the leading cricket website.
The website also added that three franchises have already taken up the matter formally with BCCI CEO Hemang Amin, highlighting their objections. They intend to collectively lodge a written protest too. When contacted, the aggrieved franchises declined a comment did not deny their protests either. Amin and BCCI too haven’t responded to the question.
Former India skipper and current president of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), Mohammed Azharuddin on Sunday (February 28) said that Hyderabad is capable of conducting the IPL this year in a bio-secure bubble.
“I strongly support the appeal by @ktrtrs. Hyderabad is absolutely capable of handling and conducting @IPL as per @BCCI’s directives and preparing a bio-secure bubble,” Azharuddin tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) working president KT Rama Rao made an appeal to the BCCI and IPL office bearers to include Hyderabad as one of the venues for the upcoming edition of the league.
“Open appeal to @BCCI and @IPL office bearers to include Hyderabad as one of the venues for upcoming IPL season. Our effective COVID containment measures are reflected in our low number of cases among all metro cities in India & we assure you of all support from the Govt,” Rao said in a tweet.
The BCCI has informed the franchises that it would announce the venues by end of the month. The franchises are expecting a formal communication early next week.