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India’s top cricketers might be returning to South Africa in a few months time. With India’s Covid-19 curve showing an alarming upswing, the BCCI has put in place a contingency plan of holding the upcoming Indian Premier League on foreign shores. In case the virus surge doesn’t dip by April, when the newly expanded 10-team event is expected to kick-off, the Indian board is inclined to move the IPL’s Season 15 to South Africa, which had earlier hosted the T20 league in 2009. The BCCI is also exploring the Sri Lanka option as it puts on paper its pandemic-time Plan B.

It is learnt that in wake of the rising Covid count and increasing positivity rate, the BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s office was forced to redraw BCCI’s 2021 schedule. Around the time the postponement of the Ranji Trophy tournament was announced, the talk about the possible shifting of IPL was initiated. Later when the domestic under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy had to be stopped mid-way because of several positive cases, the specifics started taking shape.

Unlike the past two years when BCCI’s flagship event with international flavour was fully and partially held in UAE because of the pandemic situation in the country, the Indian board was keen to look beyond the Gulf venue this time. “We can’t be dependent on UAE all the time so we decided to explore more options, South Africa’s time difference also works out well for the players,” said a BCCI official.
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