Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly kept the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad and Indore’s Holkar Cricket Stadium as standby venues for the upcoming 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in India.
The biggest threat from COVID-19 growing cases is to the IPL 2021 matches to be held in Mumbai with Maharashtra worst-hit Indian state by the Coronavirus pandemic with around 50000 cases, pushing the state-wide tally to 2,904,076 till date.
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With the Coronavirus cases continuing to rise in Maharashtra, the lockdown is almost certain to be imposed there, although, there have been no official indications of a lockdown by the state government.
Mumbai is all set to 10 IPL 14 matches from April 10-25. However, the Indian cricket board is confident of conducting the IPL games in Mumbai despite the spike in COVID-19 cases and 10 members of the Wankhede Stadium staff testing positive for the deadly virus.
But the BCCI is concerned about the situation with a potential mini-lockdown in line in Maharashtra, thus they reportedly kept Hyderabad and Indore as back-up venue options if the situation goes out of hand for the cash-rich T20 league.
The senior BCCI office-bearer told PTI, “Look, even if there is a lockdown, the teams are in bio-bubble, and also it’s a closed-door event. So we are still confident that IPL games in Mumbai will be held as per schedule with Delhi Capitals playing Chennai Super Kings on April 10 on the second day of the tournament. But Hyderabad and Indore are there on stand-by in case the situation goes out of hand.”
Meanwhile, another report in ESPNcricinfo stated: “Hyderabad has emerged as a back-up venue option, should one or more of the six designated host cities not be able to hold their matches.”
Noteworthy, the IPL 14 will be held across six venues from April 9 with the first phase of the T20 league to be held in Chennai and Mumbai before moving to Ahmedabad and Delhi for the second phase. The final leg of the IPL 2021 will be held in Bengaluru and Kolkata.
(With ESPNcricinfo/PTI Inputs)