A COVID-19 outbreak in the bio-bubbles compelled the The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to suspend IPL 2021 indefinitely on May 4. More than half of the matches in the league round were over before the authorities had to postpone the competition.
According to reports, the BCCI is looking forward to resuming IPL 2021 soon, with September being the probable window. A total of 31 matches remain in the 14th edition of the world's grandest cricket league, and multiple countries have offered to host the IPL.
Four English counties also proposed hosting the IPL 2021, but the Hampshire county boss soon stated that it would be illegal to host the Indian Premier League. Thus, England is unlikely to gain the hosting rights for the second phase of IPL, but the following three nations can host the competition.
#3 United Arab Emirates
Soon after the BCCI postponed IPL 2021, a report emerged, claiming that the IPL Governing Council had asked the board to move the tournament to the UAE before the season began. The Gulf country successfully hosted the entire IPL 2020 tournament, and shifting matches to the Middle East would not have been a significant problem for the board.
However, the BCCI did not change their plans and conducted matches across India. Now, they have an opportunity to move the IPL matches to the United Arab Emirates. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah could comfortably host the remaining 27 league matches and the playoffs.
At the moment, it seems like the United Arab Emirates may host the second half of IPL 2021 as well as the ICC T20 World Cup later this year.
#2 Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) expressed their desire to bring the IPL to the island nation on May 7. Prof. Arjuna de Silva, the chief of the SLC managing committee, offered to host the remaining matches of the season.
Arjuna mentioned how SLC would organize the 2021 Lanka Premier League in July-August and then use the same infrastructure for the Indian Premier League in September.
Since the time zone of India and Sri Lanka are the same, the IPL matches can start at 3:30 PM and 7:30 PM Local Time in the island country. Fans should note that Sri Lanka has hosted the ICC T20 World Cup before, and if the BCCI agrees, the island nation could become the fourth country to host the IPL.
#1 Can India host the remaining matches of IPL 2021?
While overseas bodies are making their offers to host IPL, the BCCI's primary aim could be to conduct IPL 2021 in India itself.
With vaccination drive in full flow, the COVID-19 situation in India will gradually improve. The board can also come up with a better plan this time around.
A report stated that the BCCI considered shifting IPL 2021 to Mumbai after the COVID-19 scare. The board can go ahead in that direction later this year.
There are multiple venues in Mumbai and if needed, BCCI can also allot a few matches to Pune. Keeping the tournament in one state could be the best way to organize IPL in India.
It will be exciting to see which country hosts the remaining 31 matches of the 2021 IPL season.