Even as teams start to prepare for the tournament, the IPL has not yet announced the dates as well as the venue for the event. Concerned officials have pointed out that a final decision is set to be taken at an IPL Governing Council meeting, but no date for that has been fixed yet.
Although the IPL has chalked out a window for the tournament, the key hurdle for the BCCI has been finalising the venues. Having made up its mind to conduct the tournament in India after successfully organising domestic limited-overs tournaments as well as the ongoing England series, the BCCI had originally earmarked Mumbai along with Pune and Ahmedabad as the venues to conduct the 2021 edition.
However, the number of rising Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, where the state government has imposed fresh restrictions including no crowds, forced the IPL to mobilise an alternative plan. That involves conducting the tournament at multiple cities with Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad being put on the potential shortlist.
One reason behind the delay is that the IPL was waiting for the Election Commission of India to announce the poll dates of several states including West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, and if it would clash with the tournament. While Tamil Nadu elections are scheduled for April 7, the polls would be conducted in multiple phases in West Bengal between late March and April 29 with results out on May 4.
ESPNcricinfo understands the IPL is thinking of conducting the matches in Kolkata, the home base of the Kolkata Knight Riders, after the election results.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo