Hyderabad: There is a ray of hope that Hyderabad could be the venue for this season’s IPL matches given the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, particularly in Mumbai. Hyderabad was initially ignored by the IPL Governing Council and BCCI when Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Delhi were allotted the matches this season.
In fact, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal had visited the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium and told the Hyderabad Cricket Association officials to be ready if some of the matches are allotted to the city during his one-day visit on March 17. The HCA officials said they would readily accept the offer even at the last-minute. “We told the BCCI official that the association is ready to conduct the match even in the last minute,’’ said an HCA official.
Dhumal was reportedly happy with the ground conditions and other facilities at the stadium, according to an HCA official.
There was a hue and cry when BCCI had overlooked Hyderabad’s claims. It led to angry reaction from cricketers and officials. HCA president Mohammed Azharuddin had even said they presented their case strongly but they could not get the approval because BCCI wanted to limit the venues this season because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even State IT Minister KT Rama Rao had requested BCCI to allot the IPL matches to Hyderabad.
Although, there is news doing rounds that BCCI has named as Hyderabad and Indore as stand-bye venues because ten grounds men in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai had tested Covid-19 positive, it is not possible to hold the first round of the matches because of the logistic reasons. At the first case, Brabourne Stadium, which is arm distance from Wankhede Stadium, could be the alternative venue as most of the teams are already in Mumbai and are in bio-bubble along with the officials, umpires.
If the situation worsens, then there could be a possibility of holding the matches in Hyderabad as it needs create a bio-bubble. HCA secretary R Vijayanand said they are ready to host the IPL matches. “We are keeping the ground, the wickets and other facilities ready at the stadium if the BCCI allots the matches at the last-minute,’’ he said.