The schedule for IPL 2021 was released by the BCCI on Sunday. As per the schedule, all of the matches will be played at neutral venues. This has not gone well with some officials as per their conversations with Cricbuzz.
No home match means no Dhoni in Chennai
The schedule for IPL 14 has been arranged in a manner that no team can play at its home venue. Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata hosting the marquee event in its 14th edition keeping all possibilities in mind. The home venues of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, and Punjab Kings were not considered for hosting the games in the upcoming season. The BCCI clearly wanted to address the concerns of these three teams but this did not go well with other franchises. Speaking to Cricbuzz, a franchise official told, “Delhi has players like Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, and skipper Shreyas Iyer who are from Mumbai and the team plays its first three games at the Wankhede. They will have an advantage just as Punjab Kings who have players like KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, and coach Anil Kumble, and they play five games in Bangalore?” he added, “Don’t they have the advantage of being familiar with the conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium? The plan can be counter-productive.”
Another questioned “You are denying MS Dhoni to play his potential last IPL in Chennai. If there are to be no crowds, what stops CSK to play in Chennai and Mumbai Indians to play in Mumbai.”
Concerns over bio bubble
According to the schedule, each team will be playing at four cities in the league stage. This means more exposure as they will be flying at least four times. “Those inside the team bubble are not allowed to meet the owners of their franchise and here by having to fly four times, change hotels and buses, the players will get exposed to outsiders,” questioned a franchise official. “No doubt, we will engage charter flights and private airports but there will always be questions over the sanctity of the bio bubbles.”
However, a source involved in the process explains, “It is a safer approach. What if the pandemic situation worsens in Maharashtra? Where do we go then? If now the situation worsens in Mumbai or any of the other cities, we’re prepared to host the tournament elsewhere.”