Mumbai and Pune to host IPL’s return to India

The Indian Premier League’s Governing Council has today (Friday) announced that this year’s edition of the Twenty20 cricket tournament will return home at a single hub in the cities of Mumbai and Pune.

Following meetings held yesterday, the IPL has confirmed that the league stage of its 15th edition will be played in a bio-secure environment at a single hub in the state of Maharashtra in an effort to avoid air travel, which it stated was “considered as a major threat” for the spread of COVID-19 infection that could subsequently affect the running of the competition.

This year’s tournament will commence on March 26, with the final scheduled for May 29. A total of 70 league matches will be played across four venues in Mumbai and Pune. The League said the venue for the playoff matches will be decided later.

Under the plan drawn up by the League, Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium (pictured) and DY Patil Stadium will host the lion’s share of games, 20 matches apiece. Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai will stage 15 games, with Pune’s MCA International Stadium doing likewise.

All teams will play four matches each at Wankhede Stadium and DY Patil Stadium, along with three matches each at Brabourne Stadium and MCA International Stadium. To divide up the fixtures, teams have been assigned into two virtual groups based on the number of IPL championships won, followed by the number of final matches played by the respective teams.

The 2022 IPL is expanding to a 10-team tournament, with the rights to two new franchises – Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans – being awarded in October.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed in June that the remainder of the 2021 IPL would take place in the United Arab Emirates in September and October. The tournament was postponed in early May after a number of players tested positive for COVID-19, with 31 matches still outstanding in this year’s edition. A subsequent internal review into the postponement found that teams travelling between multiple cities was one cause for the positive cases recorded amongst the franchises.

Local authorities in Maharashtra are said to be planning for fan attendance during IPL 2022 games in Mumbai and Pune. A source told the Press Trust of India news agency: “Spectators will be allowed as per guidelines set by the Maharashtra government and to start with, it will be 40%. If the COVID situation remains under control and cases decline, it might be full house at the business end.”

Photo by AaDil on Unsplash