New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The second half of the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) just like last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India. Though the schedule has not been announced yet, a senior Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) official has said that phase 2 of IPL 2021 will begin from September 19 while the finals will be held on October 15.

Speaking to news agency ANI, the BCCI official said that the board is confident of successfully hosting the tournament in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, adding that it is "keen on a 25-day window to finish the remaining matches".

"The discussions went really well and with ECB already giving us the oral nod to host the event ahead of the BCCI SGM, it was about closing the deal over the last week," the official said, "the first game after the season resumes will be held on September 19 while we will have the final on October 15".

The official further told ANI that BCCI is in talks with other boards about the availability of foreign players. However, the official hinted that several players might not feature in the second half of the tournament, adding that franchises would be given the option to pick replacements.

"If a couple of them do not manage to turn up, we shall then decide on the future course of action," the official said, "yes, if we do end up missing some of the foreign stars, that is an area which would need some attention when it comes to picking replacements as the foreign players are also integral to the teams".

The IPL 2021 was suspended in April after the deadly COVID-19 breached the bio-bubbles of several teams, sparking concerns among the officials. Later, the BCCI confirmed that the second half of the tournament will be held in the UAE from September, just before the beginning of the ICC T20I World Cup.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma