The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday announced the schedule of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League. As per the IPL schedule, the cricketing extravaganza is set to commence on April 9 with the final slated to be played on May 30. The tournament opener will see Royal Challengers Bangalore lock horns with defending champions Mumbai Indians in Chennai. Notably, after two years, the mega league will return home with Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata hosting the marquee event.
However, according to a recent development, a dark cloud of uncertainty is looming over Mumbai as a possible IPL 2021 venue. The city has seen a major surge in COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks. Moreover, Thane which is adjacent to Mumbai has gone under lockdown till March 31 because of the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the district.
After having flattened the COVID-19 curve in January and February, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has seen a massive spike in the number of cases that are being reported regularly. In fact, Maharashtra reported 8,744 fresh cases in the last 24 hours which is why BCCI is under some serious pressure and are mulling over a change in venue.
While speaking to InsideSport, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said that the decision to make Mumbai an IPL venue was difficult but they believe things will improve. Patel also assured that they are keeping their options open and are ready to choose a replacement venue in case things go awry.
Notably, both CSK players and PBKS players will begin their training camps for IPL 2021 shortly. As per the IPL schedule, both CSK and PBKS are set to play their opening games in Mumbai which is why they were planning to keep their training base close to the venue. Recently, while talking to InsideSport, CSK CEO Kashi Vishwanathan said that while the CSK players are beginning the camp in Chennai on March 9, plans are underway to discuss a possible shift to Mumbai.
Punjab Kings CEO Satish Menon echoed this sentiment, saying that the team has discussed shifting their bases through the course fo the tournament in order to help players 'acclimatize' to the conditions in Mumbai and wherever else they are due to have a long stay. He also added that it wouldn't make sense to camp in Mohali when most of the team's matches are slated to take place elsewhere. Meanwhile, MS Dhoni's side's first game is slated to take place in Mumbai on April 10 and Punjab's opening game will take place on April 12.
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