IPL 2021: "ICC would not like it" - Aakash Chopra on pitch deterioration in the UAE before the T20 World Cup

The remainder of IPL 2021 is likely to be played in the UAE []
The remainder of IPL 2021 is likely to be played in the UAE []
Kartik Iyer

Aakash Chopra feels the BCCI staging the remaining IPL 2021 matches in the UAE ahead of the T20 World Cup would not be to the ICC's liking because of the possible pitch deterioration.

The remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 are likely to be staged in the UAE from mid-September onwards. Although the T20 World Cup is supposed to be played in India, the tournament is also likely to be moved to the UAE, considering the prevailing COVID situation in the country.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that the ICC will not be happy with the remainder of IPL 2021 being staged in the UAE, as the pitches at the three venues are likely to get tired before the global event.

"When the remaining IPL matches happen in the UAE, there is a big issue there. There is a very strong possibility that the T20 World happens there. If you have to play 31 matches and you have only three venues, and after that you have to play 45 matches and there also you have only three venues, you will be playing so many matches in two months. So, the pitches will deteriorate and ICC would not like it, world cricket will not like it," said Chopra.

The UAE has only three venues - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah - where all the remaining matches of IPL 2021 and the entire T20 World Cup will have to be played. Playing so many fixtures on the same square could certainly make the pitches low and slow towards the business end of the multi-nation event.

Aakash Chopra on the possible solution to hold the remainder of IPL 2021 in the UAE

Aakash Chopra wants Sharjah to host the initial matches of IPL 2021 [P/C:]
Aakash Chopra wants Sharjah to host the initial matches of IPL 2021 [P/C:]

Aakash Chopra suggested that the qualification matches of the T20 World Cup can be staged in Oman as one of the workarounds.

"So what can you do? Firstly, you can use Oman for the qualifiers, it is not too far. And after that get the main World Cup tournament here," said Chopra.

The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that the IPL caravan is likely to move from one venue to another.

"The thing we are hearing is that the IPL will again be in the caravan style, that you go to one venue with all the teams, play all the matches there and then go to the next venue. The venue you have left can be given to the ICC," observed Chopra.

In such a scenario, Aakash Chopra reckons that the initial matches of IPL 2021 should be played in Sharjah for the ground to be released to the ICC, as the pitches at the venue tend to deteriorate alarmingly.

"If that is the case I would say to go to Sharjah and play the initial matches because we saw the pitch there deteriorating last time, becoming very slow. We were seeing sixes galore at the start and then after that runs were not scored at all. So, that pitch requires a little more time," opined Chopra.

The 43-year-old signed off by stating that Dubai can host the last leg of IPL 2021 as the pitches there stay true.

"So the expectation is to start in Sharjah, then go to Abu Dhabi and then go to Dubai for the final leg because nothing happened to the Dubai pitches. I used to look at the pitch daily with Sunny bhai [Sunil Gavaskar] and there was no change at all," signed off Chopra.

Apart from working on the schedule, Aakash Chopra pointed out that the BCCI will have to ensure that players from England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa, which form the predominant overseas contingent, are available for the remainder of IPL 2021.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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