IPL ponders September restart in challenge to crowded calendar

  • England touring Bangladesh and Pakistan in early autumn
  • ECB plays down talk of its grounds hosting IPL games

Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, has confirmed the Indian Premier League is exploring a possible September restart in a move that would cause significant headaches for the international game.

Speaking after an outbreak of Covid-19 among the franchises caused the IPL to be suspended this week with 31 games still to play, Ganguly said that failing to complete the 2021 tournament would incur a £245m loss for the BCCI.

As such, one proposal would be to stage the IPL after India’s tour of England – due to end on 14 September – and before the T20 World Cup that begins on 20 October, with Ganguly, the former India captain, saying: “We have to speak to other boards and see if a window can be made available.”

However, doing so would present a direct clash with a number of bilateral series scheduled as preparation for the global tournament, including England’s six-match white-ball tour of Bangladesh, scheduled to depart on 20 September, and then the two Twenty20 internationals in Pakistan on 14 and 15 October.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has said it remains committed to both trips, throwing up the possibility of IPL players such as Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes being torn between their country and, pro rata, their biggest paymasters.

Ashley Giles, director of the England men’s team, would certainly struggle to justify the policy under which England’s IPL players were originally allowed to miss the Test series against New Zealand from 2 June. In that instance, the late addition of the two Tests to the schedule was cited as the reason for flexibility.

India’s ability to stage the IPL’s restart and the T20 World Cup is clearly in doubt and the United Arab Emirates is on standby for both. But according to reports Surrey, MCC (Lord’s), Lancashire and Warwickshire are proposing to host a crunched-down finish to the IPL in the UK during the second half of September. It is an ambitious idea given the sheer volume of cricketers and support staff required to travel and quarantine, even factoring in that India’s Test players would already be in the country.

An ECB spokesperson said: “We speak to the BCCI regularly about tours and other matters and we’ll continue doing so, but we have received no indication that they are looking for alternative hosts for the IPL at the moment.”

The Spin: sign up and get our weekly cricket email.

Meanwhile New Zealand have confirmed Trent Boult will miss the first Test against England at Lord’s next month and possibly the second at Edgbaston following a request to fly home and see his family after the IPL’s collapse.

The left-armer is in line to return for the World Test Championship final against India in Southampton on 18 June, while the remaining Black Caps players at the IPL – Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson and Mitch Santner – will fly to the UK next Tuesday ahead of the full squad travelling on 16 and 17 May.

Contributor

Ali Martin

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
England players face battle to get home from India amid Covid and IPL ‘chaos’
English cricketers in India for the IPL described ‘chaos’ as the competition was abandoned on Tuesday with the country enduring a dire coronavirus outbreak

Simon Burnton

04, May, 2021 @1:38 PM

Article image
Eoin Morgan convinced Twenty20 tournament will not hurt county game
England’s one-day captain Eoin Morgan has said the new Twenty20 tournament is long overdue and added that being free on television was vital

Ali Martin

30, Mar, 2017 @9:43 PM

Article image
Pakistan feel ‘used and binned’ by England’s withdrawal, says PCB chair
Pakistan have lost faith in English cricket and the promise of a tour in 2022, with contingency plans set to be drawn up amid a belief they will once again be left in the lurch

Ali Martin

21, Sep, 2021 @5:31 PM

Article image
Pressure for change is building to protect cricketers from burnout | Ebony Rainford-Brent
A crowded calendar is causing injuries and a player like Jos Buttler could miss matches because of his young family

Ebony Rainford-Brent

20, Sep, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
ECB should not tap its feet for four years before embracing Jofra Archer | Barney Ronay
England are missing a trick by waiting until the gifted Sussex all-rounder is 27 and need to send a yorker through the rule book

Barney Ronay

27, Apr, 2018 @2:57 PM

Article image
Raw talent plus IPL cash point to an era of Indian dominance | Andy Bull
Their stunning Test series victory in Australia may go down as a watershed moment as the game’s global power shifts to India

Andy Bull

20, Jan, 2021 @7:00 PM

Article image
ECB should break the global silence on Pakistan's sad and strange IPL exile | Jonathan Liew
The unspoken, unexamined decision of the Indian Premier League to ignore one country has turned the dressing room into a proxy battlefield, the auction into a theatre of war

Jonathan Liew

26, Oct, 2020 @7:00 PM

Article image
ECB ponders Covid passports to get fans back into grounds for championship
As the county season prepares to burst into life on 8 April, the ECB revealed it is pondering the use of Covid passports once crowds are again allowed into grounds

Tanya Aldred

30, Mar, 2021 @4:53 PM

Article image
Coronavirus has given cricket chance to rationalise crazy calendar
The pandemic has underlined what we have have long tacitly known: that the schedule is full well beyond breaking point

Jonathan Liew

25, Apr, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
IPL worries grow as match postponed after two players test positive for Covid
The IPL’s bio bubbles have been breached, with two players and a senior coach testing positive for Covid-19, raising further questions over this year’s tournament

Paul MacInnes

03, May, 2021 @4:33 PM