The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have not included Mohali in the list of hosting venues for the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL). Reports claim the decision has been taken due to fears of farmers protests around the Punjab Cricket Association stadium.
Mohali, one of India’s most iconic venues, has been the home ground of Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab) since the inception of IPL in 2008.
Punjab is currently the epicenter of the farmers’ agitations that has been a raging issue in India for months. Fears that protests around the stadium could catch the attention of the world's media has forced the BCCI into taking the reported decision.
A top BCCI official, on the condition of anonymity, elaborated on the fears of BCCI to The Indian Express:
“We don’t want a situation to arise where we have an IPL match in Mohali and a farmer agitation march moves towards the stadium. It will attract media attention from all over the world. We don’t want such a situation to arise. Mohali is not among shortlisted venues due to the current scenario in the northern part of India.
“Except Punjab, we are monitoring most of the other venues. The elections also might force some changes in the venue list.”
Punjab also lost out on 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy matches for the same reason.
Punjab CM, IPL team owners upset over decision
Mohali’s exclusion as an IPL venue has upset several stakeholders. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed his disappointment through a tweet:
Punjab Kings have written to the BCCI seeking clarity on why Mohali wasn't selected as one of the venues for the 2021 IPL.
Ness Wadia, the co-owner of Punjab Kings, still hopes his side will play a few games in the north Indian state.
“We have written to the BCCI to find out under what criteria they have selected the venues and why they have not selected us. We were hoping to have games in Punjab,” Ness Wadia told PTI.
The worsening COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra could also see Mumbai lose out on hosting 2021 IPL matches. As per BCCI’s current plan, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru have been shortlisted as venues so far.