CPL 2021 schedule tweaked to avoid clash with remainder of IPL season

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In a shot in the arm for the BCCI and the IPL, the dates for the 2021 edition of the CPL have been revised; it will now be played in St Kitts and Nevis between August 26 and September 15.

The CPL was originally scheduled to start on August 28, and end on September 19, but that changed after the BCCI began talks with Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the CPL immediately after it identified the September-October window for wrapping up the remainder of the postponed 2021 IPL.

The revised dates will mean a tweaked match schedule for the CPL, and the challenge for both CWI and CPL is that there aren’t many free days in a packed home season comprising tours of the Caribbean by South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

Immediately after the ongoing series against South Africa, which ends on July 9, West Indies play a white-ball series comprising five T20Is and three ODIs against Australia, which will end on July 24. Three days later, the Pakistan series kicks off with a five-match T20I series followed by two Tests, scheduled to end on August 24.

The BCCI wanted the CPL to bring forward the start of the tournament for two key reasons: Firstly, there are several players as well as coaching staff that are involved with both IPL and CPL franchises, and also, the owners of two of the IPL franchises – the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Punjab Kings – own teams in the CPL too – the Trinbago Knight Riders and the St Lucia Zouks respectively.

Secondly, the BCCI wanted the IPL-bound contingent to move sooner from the Caribbean to the UAE, where the remainder of the IPL will be played.

“Both IPL and CPL are important to CWI, to our cricketers and to fans,” Ricky Skerritt, the CWI president, told ESPNcricinfo. “CWI’s role was to facilitate arrangements for a non-overlapping and smooth transition from one tournament to the next. Cricket administrators must collaborate if cricket is to survive the risks and costs of COVID-19.”

The 2021 CPL comprises 33 matches, all of which will be hosted at Warner Park. In April, Pete Russell, the CPL chief executive officer, had said this edition would be open to crowds but attendance would be capped at 50% of the ground capacity.

Skerritt explained that the CPL would also soon be finalising the guidelines for the franchises to be part of the bio-secure bubble. “Any bubble-related decisions are made by the local St Kitts health authorities and CPL medical advisors (same as CWI), in the context of the local COVID-19 situation,” he said.

“Just four weeks ago, St Kitts recorded community spread for the first time. For over a year, all cases were imported, identified, quarantined, and recovered. The first local COVID-19 (related) death happened just two days ago.” (ESPNCricinfo)

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