BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla has made it clear that the unavailability of few foreign stars won't matter a lot as the board remains focused to complete the tournament. He further added that the BCCI doesn’t have any issue whether the spectators are allowed or not in the Middle East.
In what was the first of its kind incident, this year's IPL was cancelled mid-way through the tournament, owing to the positive cases in the bio-bubble, at a time when India was battling the worst of novel Coronavirus. However, it was announced recently that the remaining matches of the tournament will be completed in the Middle East. Though the dates haven't been officially confirmed yet, it is likely to take place in September-October, just ahead of the T20 World Cup.
However, the restart of the IPL will clash with the international calendar. The ECB have already confirmed that their players won't be allowed to play somewhere else when they are touring any country, which will be the case when the IPL restarts in the Middle East. Even the participation of the Australian players hasn't been confirmed yet. Reflecting on the possible absence of foreign stars, BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla made it clear that the tournament will go on as scheduled in UAE, irrespective of the availability of foreign stars
“We have discussed that (foreign players) issue also. Our main focus is on completing this edition of the IPL. It should not be left halfway through. So whichever foreign players are available is fine. Whoever is not available, it is not going to stop us from hosting the tournament,” Shukla told Khaleej Times, reported HT.
He added that the BCCI are focused on completing the tournament, and the franchises will have to look out for available players during the time of the league.
“The Indian players are there, foreign players are there, but few foreign players will not be available. As I said, we have to complete our tournament. So the franchises will definitely look for other players. Whoever is available, we are going to have the tournament with them. That’s our policy," he added.
There are also reports that indicate allowing 50% spectators in the ground for the remaining IPL games in UAE. But, the senior board official didn't confirm anything. In fact, he said that the board has no problems in whatever the authorities decide for the tournament.
"The only issue is about the spectators, whether they will allow the spectators or not. So we will talk to them about that. We will go by whatever UAE authorities decide. If they say it’s with spectators, and certain percentage of spectators, we are fine. Or if they say without spectators, that is also fine with us. There is no problem," he added.
When asked about the potential dates for resumption of the league, the BCCI vice-president stated that it hasn't been decided yet and the final decision will only be taken once the other BCCI officials reach UAE.
“I am already here. Now a team of BCCI office-bearers, president (Sourav Ganguly), secretary (Jay Shah) and the IPL chairman (Brijesh Patel) will be coming here in a couple of days.We will be having discussions with the cricket board here and the other authorities. And accordingly the schedule will be made, so the tournament happens in a very smooth manner as it happened here last year,” he added.
“Whatever, Covid protocols (on vaccination) are required, we will be following those protocols, the Indian protocols as well as the UAE protocols,” Shukla signed off.