FIXTURES | POINTS TABLE
This May 7 deadline to shift – which is what the Board has earmarked for now – could see a slight delay of four or five days if the Board and the franchises conclude they need a little more time to sanitise hotels and stadium facilities before settling down here.
The league, nevertheless, is moving. Phone lines got overworked for most part of Monday as the BCCI and franchise officials worked on the logistics and operations that will be involved. Booking of hotels, re-booking of chartered flights, preparing the stadiums for cricket, building a fresh bio-bubble and allotting green zones were work in progress.
The BCCI admits that the logistics involved in this shift will be huge and the entire process needs to be planned thoroughly so as to avoid any breaches.
The teams were earlier scheduled to fly from Delhi and Ahmedabad to Kolkata and Bangalore for the final leg of the tournament before shifting to Ahmedabad again for the knockouts and the final.
All franchises have refused to fly to Kolkata and Bangalore, given the Covid situation. In fact, franchises that are based out of Delhi are scared, given the rising numbers in the national capital.
While Delhi, even as a state, was logging close to 20,000 cases per day, the Mumbai region saw a drop this weekend and a total of 3,672 active cases were registered on Sunday.
Officials of the BCCI spoke are learnt to have spoken with Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra’s cabinet minister for tourism and environment, requesting him to facilitate these matches and the latter appears to have given the go-ahead under strict protocols.
The Wankhede and Brabourne Stadiums in south Mumbai and the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will have to be made match-ready in the next 72 hours. While Wankhede was in use the first three weeks of the IPL, Brabourne and DY Patil have not hosted any big-ticket matches in a long time.
“Stadiums, hotel-booking and air-travel will be BCCI’s biggest challenges. Stadiums have to be made match-ready, hotels are a concern because some are Covid centres, especially in south Mumbai. The Board is working on it.
“Air-travel has to be coordinated well. Entry and exit points at the airports have been a matter of concern. Many franchises who did their own internal contact-tracing concluded that airport terminals may have led to a breach in the bio-bubble,” sources tracking developments said.
On Monday, the BCCI called multiple hotels in Mumbai and was learnt to have discussed the idea of more than one franchise being accommodated in one hotel so as to make the bio-bubble a more tightly-knit space.
If a certain number of days are lost due to shifting of the entire contingent to Mumbai, the BCCI is working on tweaking the schedule and adding double-headers in order to accommodate matches.
TOI understands that broadcasters Star may request the Board to extend the IPL into June, in order to avoid the double-headers – considering they hamper revenues. IPL officials, however, want the tournament to conclude at the earliest.