The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are faced with a fresh hurdle in organising the mega auction for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 season. The rising COVID-19 cases in India along with fresh restrictions imposed by the Karnataka government mean that Bengaluru as the venue for the IPL 2022 mega auction is still under the scanner.
The BCCI may have to shift the mega auction if they can’t secure a venue which adheres to all COVID-19 guidelines in Bengaluru. As a result, the dates of the auction might also need to change. On Tuesday (January 4), the BCCI postponed all domestic competitions including the Ranji Trophy.
While the BCCI earmarked February 12 and 13 for auctions in Bengaluru, the Indian board is yet to book hotels. According to InsideSport website, the two hotels BCCI were looking at have asked the board to wait for a few days as the Karnataka government is due to issue fresh COVID-19 restrictions. The restrictions are expected to include a cap on gatherings preventing BCCI to host the auctions.
“Some things are out of our hands and we must wait. Bookings and stuff will not be an issue if we have an idea about the restrictions. We are closely monitoring the situation and are in talks with the state associations. If we need to move the venue, it can be done on short notice,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport website.
— Official Lucknow IPL Team (@TeamLucknowIPL) January 4, 2022
Currently, Sheraton Grand in Whitefield, Bengaluru, is booked for Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 2022). The other hotels left are waiting cautiously on fresh curbs. With fresh restrictions the Karnataka government is going to impose by Thursday (January 6), it could jeopardise the auction.
The BCCI had already kept Kolkata, Kochi and Mumbai on standby due to COVID-19. However, all three cities are currently witnessing a case surge while Kolkata, Mumbai and Kochi all have imposed fresh restrictions. It is also possible that the Indian board will have to change the dates to conduct the two-day auctions from February 12 and 13.
AB de Villiers says he has ‘role to play in SA cricket and RCB’
He isn’t sure what future holds in store for him but former South Africa captain AB de Villiers is confident that he will have a role to play in national team and his IPL franchise Royal Challenger Bangalore’s future set-up. One of contemporary cricket’s greatest batters, De Villiers had retired from all forms of game in November last year, putting an end to his glorious 17-year career in top-flight.
“I still believe that I have a role to play in SA cricket and also over there in the IPL with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB),” he was quoted as saying by Times LIVE.
Besides a staggering 20,017 international runs across all formats under his belt, De Villiers also holds the record for fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODIs. He has also played 156 matches for RCB and scored 4,491 runs. “I have no idea what will come next but I will take it one day at a time and see,” he added.
The 37-year-old De Villiers, who has played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20s for South Africa, said he has been ‘looking after and mentoring some youngsters with potential and ability for the last few years’.
“No one knows about it and hopefully I can look back one day in the future knowing that I have made a big difference in the lives of a few players. That is my focus for now and I don’t know if it’s going to be professional or on a casual basis, but we will see where we go with that.”
De Villiers, who had announced his retirement from international cricket in 2018, opened up about the personal challenges that he faced in the last couple of years with the COVID-19 pandemic also taking a toll.
“Having to go to the IPL twice last year where we had to deal with a lot of travelling restrictions, COVID-19 testing, missed and cancelled flights, and having to organise school for the kids was very challenging,” he said.
“I decided over the past few years that I am not going to travel without my kids any more and the split IPL really made it very complicated. Probably the biggest challenge was to stay sane, motivated and keeping the energy. I also picked up COVID-19 at some stage and I was really sick for 10 to 12 days and luckily I got through it. Those were the challenges and there were basic stresses of life with the pandemic floating around.”
The IPL was suspended in 2020 after multiple COVID cases were detected inside the bio-bubble in India. It was completed later in the year after being shifted to the UAE.
“By a long way, the travelling arrangements and the IPL have been the biggest challenge this year and finding that energy to still want to be the best in the world was difficult,” De Villiers said.
(with PTI inputs)