The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is contemplating starting the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from March 27, almost a week ahead of the planned start of the tournament. Cricbuzz has learnt that this was discussed during the meeting with the owners of the IPL teams on Saturday (January 22).
As per the initial discussions, the BCCI wants to hold the tournament in Maharashtra and the first game is likely to be held in Mumbai.
The BCCI is making all possible efforts to conduct the tournament in India itself and Mumbai and Pune, with four grounds in close proximity of one another, are emerging possible venue options.
The meeting was attended by all owners, including the Ambanis, N Srinivasan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Parth Jindal among others, besides the promoters of the two new teams – Ahmedabad and Lucknow. The discussions were largely around the venue. Before that, the owners were told that the tournament, starting in the last week of March, will finish in the last week of May.
The meeting considered the options of Mumbai-Pune, UAE and South Africa as venues. UAE was eventually rejected on the grounds that dew will be a major factor in April and May in the desert kingdom and the results of the matches are largely influenced by the toss with teams batting first having a major disadvantage. This was pointed out at the meeting with particular emphasis on the T20 World Cup 2021 results, which were also largely decided by the toss factor.
Most owners seem to have preferred Mumbai but some BCCI members were for moving the tournament to South Africa. Eventually, the Greater Mumbai option with four grounds (including Pune) was zeroed in, with the main advantage being the fact that it would not require air travel.
It was also pointed out that there are sufficient hotels to accommodate the IPL bandwagon. However, the final decision will be made on February 20 based on the Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra, the BCCI told the owners. The fact that the schools in Maharashtra are being reopened from January 24 was a point of encouragement for the authorities.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has also informed the owners that there is no plan to postpone the auction, nor move it from Bengaluru. It is scheduled to take place on February 12 and 13, as originally planned.