The BCCI has decided to limit the number of venues for the upcoming limited-overs series against West Indies to two, instead of the original six, in a bid to limit chances of the pandemic affecting the series. As per the new plan, recommended by the BCCI's tours and fixtures committee which met on Wednesday, Ahmedabad is likely to host the ODI-leg, comprising three matches, while Kolkata is likely to get the three T20Is that follow.
The BCCI also wants to tweak the schedule to avoid a clash with the two-day IPL auction, scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Bengaluru - as things stand, the third ODI is set to be played on February 12. But a final decision will be taken on this once it has been discussed with Cricket West Indies.
The development is a precautionary step by the BCCI, taken in response to the growing number of positive cases in India, which is currently experiencing a third wave of the pandemic, with the Omicron variant dominant across the country. Though the impact of this wave has been less severe than the preceding Delta wave, the high degree of transmissiblity of Omicron has led to stringent curbs on movement and public activities in the big cities. The current wave is expected to peak in early February.
Last September, while unveiling India's home calendar for 2021-22, the BCCI had named six venues for the series: the three ODIs on February 6, 9 and 12 in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kolkata, and the three T20Is on February 15, 18 and 20 in Cuttack, Visakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram.
The tours and fixtures committee felt limiting travel was a necessary safeguard to keep the bubble intact, and also minimise chances of a disruption to the home season - the series against West Indies is set to be immediately followed by a visit by Sri Lanka, and then the IPL.
ESPNcricinfo understands the two Tests against Sri Lanka will be played in Bengaluru and Mohali as originally planned, but the three T20Is are likely to be limited to just Dharamsala, which was originally meant to host the second match, sandwiched by games in Mohali and Lucknow.
The IPL auction is set to go ahead across the weekend of February 12-13 in Bengaluru, with the ten franchises being alerted to make their travel plans accordingly.