Crowds might be averted no less than initially in IPL: Punjab Kings’ Ness Wadia


New Delhi, March 2

Punjab Kings co-owner Ness Wadia feels the IPL can avoid crowds initially in the tournament and also wants to know from the BCCI that why his team’s base in Mohali has not been picked among the potential venues for the 2021 edition despite a low COVID-19 caseload.

Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai have been shortlisted as potential venues but the BCCI is yet to take a final call on the matter. Mumbai was in the mix too but spike in COVID cases means that IPL games are unlikely to be held there.

“We have written to the BCCI to find out under what criteria they have selected the venues and why they have not selected us. We were hoping to have games in Punjab,” Wadia told PTI.

Punjab’s daily COVID-19 count has been relatively low and on Tuesday, 635 new cases were recorded which pushed the active tally to 4,853.

“Some of the teams will not have a home advantage, those are the concerns. The cases in Chandigarh and Mohali are not that much, I don’t know on what basis they have shortlisted the venues,” he added, referring to Chandigarh’s 69 new cases on Monday.

The 2020 edition of the IPL was held in the UAE in empty stadiums but there is a possibility that the upcoming edition at home will allow spectators with the COVID situation improving drastically since the last IPL.

The current India-England Test series too is being played in front of limited fans.

However, Wadia feels IPL is a much tougher challenge logistically compared to a bilateral series and crowds can be avoided at least initially due to safety concerns.

“I think it would better to have no crowd initially and then evaluate the COVID-19 situation as the event progresses. There is no question that the IPL is tougher to organise than a bilateral series. We want whatever is best and safe for the players and the bio-bubble,” Wadia said.

“We are disappointed (not being one of the venues) and I am sure our fans will be too. We have heard on this from BCCI verbally but there is no written communication yet. We would like to know their venue selection criteria,” he added.

The IPL will be held in April-May but the schedule is not yet out. PTI



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