Denying MS Dhoni to play his potential last IPL in Chennai: Franchises left unhappy over scheduling

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 08, 2021, 01.44 PM(IST)

MS Dhoni fined after CSK's IPL 2021 opener versus Delhi Capitals Photograph:( AFP )

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The schedule and fixture list of the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 was released on Sunday. Spread over six cities, IPL 2021 is set to commence from April 9. However, no franchise will have home advantage this term with matches to be held in neutral venues only. The schedule of IPL 2021 and the introduction of neutral venue have left a few franchises unhappy with some of them raising question on why they are being barred from playing in their home venues.  

The schedule and fixture list of the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 was released on Sunday. Spread over six cities, IPL 2021 is set to commence from April 9. However, no franchise will have home advantage this term with matches to be held in neutral venues only. The schedule of IPL 2021 and the introduction of neutral venue have left a few franchises unhappy with some of them raising question on why they are being barred from playing in their home venues.  

The cities of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata will host IPL 2021 matches. The reason behind keeping neutral venues was to ensure parity on the field for every franchise while also ensuring no one gets added advantage of brand activation. 

It was reported that three franchises were discontent when their venues weren't considered for IPL 2021 and according to a report in Cricbuzz, by addressing the concerns of three teams, who had earlier opposed the six-venue proposal, five other franchises could be less than satisfied with the final schedule. 

"You are denying MS Dhoni to play his potential last IPL in Chennai. If there are to be no crowds, what stops CSK to play in Chennai and Mumbai Indians to play in Mumbai," asks one of the franchise officials as quoted by Cricbuzz. 

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"Delhi have players like Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Shreyas Iyer who are from Mumbai and the team plays its first three games at the Wankhede. They will have advantage just as Punjab Kings who have players like KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, and coach Anil Kumble, and they play five games in Bangalore? Don't they have the advantage of being familiar with the conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium? The plan can be counter-productive." 

The other concerns raised over the schedule have been on safety standards and logistical hazards. A team will have to fly out at least four times and according to some franchises, that could expose those participating to outsiders.  

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"Those inside the team bubble are not allowed to meet the owners of their franchise and here by having to fly four times, change hotels and buses, the players will get exposed to outsiders," cautioned a franchise official, adding, "No doubt, we will engage charter flights and private airports but there will always be questions over the sanctity of the bio bubbles." 

The report adds that the reason for finalising six venues was to spread out the risk factor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"It is a safer approach. What if the pandemic situation worsens in Maharashtra? Where do we go then? If now the situation worsens in Mumbai, or any of the other cities, we're prepared to host the tournament elsewhere," says one of those involved with the scheduling of the tournament. 

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