As the preparations for the second phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) are in full swing in UAE, former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has named a franchise that will benefit from the COVID-19 forced break.
The first half of IPL 2021 was played in India, but the cash-rich T20 event was forced to suspend after several Coronavirus cases were reported inside the bio-bubble earlier this year. However, the IPL 14 is now set to resume in the UAE from September 19.
The franchises and players have already started preparations in the UAE for the IPL, but on the other hand, the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team is currently engaged in a Test series in England and the international stars will only join their franchises after September 14 in the UAE.
Well, the break will certainly have an impact on the teams when the IPL 14 resumes in the UAE, but Gambhir feels the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) is that franchise that could be benefited from the break having won the IPL title last year in the UAE.
Rohit Sharma-led MI won four out of seven matches and ranked fourth in the points table before the IPL 2021 was suspended and former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain said the defending champions are favorites to win the title once again.
Gambhir said on Star Sports’ show Game Plan: “See again, Mumbai probably will be having that advantage, because first, they’ve won it last time in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in UAE, well, and they’re going back to the same place and they’re in a position where they can actually finish in the top two as well.”
He continued, “If you look at other franchises, especially franchises like KKR or for that matter, even Sunrisers (SRH), it’s pretty difficult for them to qualify or for that matter, even Punjab Kings. But if you ask me one franchise who’s going to have an advantage with this break, is Mumbai Indians.”
The former cricketer-turned-politician also felt the teams like Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which are currently ranked second and third respectively in the points table, can afford to lose some matches in the UAE.
Gambhir further explained, “From CSK & RCB’s point of view, I think they’ve gotten themselves into a position where they can actually afford to lose a couple of games. So, that’s the reason why I said that Punjab Kings can’t afford to do that, KKR can’t afford to do that.”
He signed off by saying, “Sunrisers can’t afford to lose a single game if they want to qualify for the playoff, and that’s the reason why they probably will still have an advantage, especially CSK and RCB, because they’ve brought themselves up to that position.”