The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering convening an owners’ meeting of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams next month, with one of the main items on the agenda being the announcement of Plan B for IPL 2022. The BCCI is justifiably concerned about the Covid-driven health concerns nationwide in April/May, when the IPL is scheduled, given the country’s recent significant surge in Omicron cases. The BCCI is likely to talk to the owners about all of the possibilities. However, it has been learned that returning to the UAE appears to be off the table.

The league’s original plan, which is set to begin on April 2 in Chennai, was to hold games on a home-and-away basis if the Covid situation in the country did not worsen. If the circumstance merits, the backup plans will be implemented. In the absence of a credible Plan B, the BCCI was forced to call off the previous edition midway through May when the country was hit by the pandemic’s second wave. It was eventually forced to relocate the entire bandwagon to the United Arab Emirates four months later.

“The BCCI will onboard the owners of the two new teams, Lucknow and Ahmedabad, at the meeting, which will be mostly introductory in nature. If the Covid/Omicron issue worsens, they are considering staging the entire event in Mumbai and Pune, or in the Gujarat cities of Ahmedabad, Baroda, and Rajkot. The owners will be informed about the alternatives as well as what to expect at the mega auction “Several franchise officials who have spoken with the BCCI in the last few days confirm that the board is not considering the UAE, where the majority of the last two seasons’ games were played, as an option.

The BCCI is tentatively preparing to host the major auction in the second week of February, most likely over the weekend – between February 10 and 13. Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Delhi have been shortlisted, and the location will be decided based on hotel availability. Finding a suitable venue has been difficult due to the wedding season.

Meanwhile, the status of the new Ahmedabad franchise has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the BCCI recently. According to people with knowledge of the situation, the dispute with CVC Sports, the company that purchased the franchise, has been resolved, but no formal notification has been sent to the new teams, including Lucknow, authorizing them to begin negotiating with the players. Each team can sign up to three players, but they can also opt out and go to the auction with the entire amount of INR 90 crore.