The Indian Premier League final could now be held on October 15 as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking to reduce the number of double-headers to avoid the September heat in the United Arab Emirates.
While the Board is expected to announce the final schedule of the tournament in two weeks, Sportstar understands that the tournament will begin on September 19.
The target is to reduce the double-headers to six or seven as against 10. And the BCCI and Emirates Cricket Board are now planning to make the most of the September 15-October 15 window.
After deliberations with the local authorities, the BCCI officials believe that having 10 matches in the afternoon could be challenging for the teams in such a short window. “The players will have a long season, so it is advisable that we avoid double-headers as much as possible,” a Board insider said.
A BCCI delegation – led by president Sourav Ganguly – did a recce of the venues and had meetings with the local authorities. It is believed that efforts are on to allow a limited number of fans – who are fully vaccinated – to the stadiums and as a result, hosting the final on October 15 will be beneficial as it is the festive season. “All the stakeholders have been consulted,” the Board official said.
Efforts are on to ensure that the overseas players are available, and last week, BCCI chief Ganguly told this publication that the tournament will go ahead with whoever is available.
The BCCI had requested the West Indies Cricket Board to start the Caribbean Premier League a week early but there has been no response. “We are in talks with the boards and we are confident that most players will be available,” the board insider said.
The Indian team will finish the Test series against England on September 14 and will fly into Dubai the next day by a charter flight. The players might have to undergo a three-day hard quarantine in the UAE but that could be waived off since it will be a bubble-to-bubble transfer.
With the T20 World Cup likely to be shifted to the UAE, the Board also plans to host the knockout stage in a single venue – preferably Dubai – while the other two grounds – Sharjah and Abu Dhabi – will be handed over to the ICC for T20 World Cup preparations.
As of now, the franchises plan to reach the UAE by mid-August, have mandatory quarantine and then start training.