The IPL is all but set to be played in Maharashtra from the last week of March. TOI understands that some of the franchises are not comfortable with the idea of Mumbai Indians playing at their ‘home ground’ of Wankhede stadium.
As of now, BCCI has identified Wankhede stadium, Brabourne stadium, DY Patil stadium in Mumbai and the Gahunje stadium in Pune for the tournament. A BCCI team is likely to do a final recce.
“None of the other teams are getting home matches. It will be unfair if MI play a lot of their matches at Wankhede, which has been their den for years. The franchises have raised this concern. The franchises don’t have an issue with Mumbai Indians play bulk of their matches at DY Patil stadium and in Pune. Even the Brabourne stadium is fine. Hopefully, the BCCI will look into the matter,” a franchise source said.
The BCCI had ensured none of the teams played at their home venues when the first leg of last year’s IPL was played in India. The franchises agree on this.
Arranging practice venues for 10 teams is going to be a challenge too. Reliance Cricket stadium in Navi Mumbai and the Bandra Kurla Complex facilities could be used. While there has been speculation that the second half of the IPL could move to other venues given the third wave of the pandemic is fast on the wane, BCCI is wary of the move.
“Air travel of so many teams is the biggest threat of an outbreak. BCCI doesn’t really want to take chances. The first objective is to complete the league in time in India. No one can predict when another wave may start,” a BCCI official said.
However, the BCCI is not averse to allowing a limited number of spectators into stadiums if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to decline sharply.