Here’s what we know so far about the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021).
The 2020 edition of the IPL, staged in the UAE late in the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, was one of the most entertaining in the competition’s history. Attentions have quickly turned to IPL 2021, which could be held as soon as four months after the culmination of the 2020 tournament.
When and where will IPL 2021 be held?
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has confidently asserted that the 2021 tournament will take place in the first half of 2021 in its usual April-May slot in the calendar. It has been reported that Ganguly is optimistic that the IPL will return to Indian soil in 2021, but the BCCI have yet to categorically confirm that to be the case. Earlier this month Ganguly told India Today that India’s scheduled home series against England will take place in India, as will the 2020/21 Ranji Trophy.
It may follow that the IPL – which is scheduled to take place after both events – would then also be held in India, but the IPL is a different logistical beast. Even if the tournament does take place in India, there are no guarantees that fans would be allowed back into the stadia. As of November 15, India has the second highest number of recorded Covid-19 cases and the third highest figure of recorded Covid-19-related deaths in the world.
In September, ESPNcricinfo reported that while the initial agreement between the BCCI and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) only covered hosting for the 2020 tournament, the possibility of the UAE hosting the England series and the 2021 IPL were discussed at the time.
Will there be a ninth franchise in IPL 2021?
Recent reports in India have hinted at the possibility of a ninth IPL side being introduced at the 2021 tournament. It has been suggested that the new franchise could be based at Ahmedabad’s new 110,000 seater stadium – the world’s second largest sporting arena.
Will there be a mega auction and what does that mean?
Although there has yet to be confirmation, it is expected that a mega auction will take place ahead of the 2021. In previous mega auctions, teams have been allowed to retain up to five of their current squad but there’s no guarantee that a mega auction in 2021 would follow the precedents set in previous years. Mega auctions have previously taken place ahead of the 2011, 2014 and 2018 tournaments.
Given that Mumbai Indians have won two IPL titles in a row, cementing their status as the greatest T20 side of all time, perhaps breaking up their hegemony will be a good thing for the tournament as a whole.