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IPL 2021: England counties offer to host the remaining matches in the competition in September 

Could England emerge as an IPL 2021 destination?
Could England emerge as an IPL 2021 destination?
Wasiq Agha
ANALYST

Four English counties have offered to host the remaining IPL 2021 matches in the United Kingdom in September. ESPNcricinfo on ThursdayThe MCC, Surrey, Warwickshire and Lancashire associations have written to the England Cricket Board (ECB) appealing to them to extend this offer to the BCCI.

The BCCI is looking for a window to host the remaining 31 IPL 2021 games. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel has revealed the body is trying to find a window before or after the T20 World Cup this year to resume the tournament, with the UAE and Australia touted as possible destinations.

ESPNcricinfo disclosed on Thursday that IPL 2021 could be held in England in a two-week window in the second half of September.

The four English counties are based across three cities in England. Both the MCC and Surrey are based out of London, at Lord's and the Kia Oval respectively, with Warwickshire and Lancashire situated in Birmingham (Edgbaston) and Manchester (Emirates Old Trafford).

According to the publication, the counties’ offer to host IPL 2021 will come up for discussion during the virtual ICC meeting of the national chief executives on Thursday.

The four counties believe hosting IPL 2021 in England would boost the competition’s appeal in the United Kingdom. They also argued that hosting the competition in England will ensure the pitches in UAE remain fresh for the T20 World Cup. This could be a smart move if the ICC showpiece event is not staged in India due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Will England host the remaining matches in IPL 2021?

As reported by ESPN, crowds could make a return to stadiums in IPL 2021 if it is held in England. The England and Wales Cricket Board recently drew up a plan to have fans inside grounds by next month while following COVID-19 protocols.

However, hosting IPL 2021 will come with its own logistical challenges. Apart from quarantine restrictions, the packed international calendar means it will be a monumental task to complete IPL 2021 in a couple of weeks in September.

The existing schedule has the England-India Test series ending on September 14th. With England expected to travel to Pakistan for a T20Is series in the same month, there is no clear window in which IPL 2021 can be held.

The UAE is the front runner to host IPL 2021 as of now. According to media reports, two and possibly even three games could be played in a day to wrap up the competition quickly. It is also believed that there will be no gap between the group stage and the knock-out games of IPL 2021.

However, the English counties believe a rejig of the international calendar could bring IPL 2021 to England for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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