Principal Correspondent :
CITY’S international umpire and former Vidarbha Ranji Trophy player Ulhas Gandhe has been appointed as match official for the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. The popular league is scheduled to be held from April 9 at different venues of the country. Gandhe has left for Chennai on March 31. He will have to undergo COVID tests followed by quarantine period. This is Gandhe’s fourth successive stint as an IPL official. Last year also Gandhe officiated in IPL which was held in United Arab Emirates due to coronavirus.
At UAE, Gandhe was on field umpire in three games and officiated as third umpire in two matches. He was also fourth umpire in 10 games. Gandhe was also on field umpire in all Women’s Challenger matches (Women’s IPL) including the final. Prior to IPL in UAE, Gandhe had officiated in eight IPL games in 2019. Gandhe has also officiated in the UK in County Games during the exchange programme between BCCI and England and Wales Cricket Board. An experienced umpire, Gandhe, who played as a spinner for Vidarbha, also officiated in India A vs South Africa A matches apart from Duleep Trophy, Challenger Trophy and Deodhar Trophy. The IPL, which will kick-off from April 9, will be played at six different venues — Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The opening match will be played at Chennai with defending champions Mumbai taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore. The play-offs and the mega final will be played at Motera in Ahmedabad. The final is set for May 30. Unlike previous IPL games played in India, this year the organisers have decided to hold the matches at neutral venues. With coronavirus on the rise again, the league phase will be played behind closed doors. Gandhe thanked BCCI, VCA and his employers Accountant General Office (A&E), Maharashtra, Nagpur for their support.