The Indian Premier League is set to resume in the UAE after a pandemic-enforced disruption earlier in the year.
The T20 tournament had to be suspended in May after several players and backroom staff tested positive for Covid-19 amid a brutal second wave of cases in India.
As time went by, it became clear a major tournament could not be held in India. So the IPL was shifted to the UAE, where it will resume from September 19 and conclude on October 15. And the players will hardly get any time to rest as the T20 World Cup, which was also scheduled to be held in India, will start two days later.
Players from various franchises have already landed in the UAE, with international commitments delaying the arrival of many stars.
The change of venue will not be the only talking point in the second half of the season. Many big names will not be seen in action during IPL 2021 in the UAE due to varying reasons.
All-rounder Ben Stokes is on an indefinite break from cricket, England wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler has opted out for the birth of his second child. England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been ruled out for a long duration as he recovers from finger surgery and manages his troublesome elbow.
Australian fast bowler Jhye Richardson is also unavailable while Pat Cummins has opted out of the UAE leg.
The changes have resulted in a windfall for many players who were overlooked during the IPL auction earlier in the year.
England leg-spinner Adil Rashid will feature in his first IPL after Punjab Kings named him as a replacement for Richardson.
Also, two Sri Lankan cricketers were rewarded for their impressive performances during India's limited overs tour of the country earlier in the year. Spin bowling all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera have been included in Royal Challengers Bangalore's squad.
The resumption of the IPL means we will get to see the best paid cricketers on the planet showcase their skills in one arena. Below is the list of the top salaries in IPL 2021, including those who will not be in the UAE.
Top 20 highest paid cricketers in IPL 2021
1. Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore). 170 million rupees ($2.3m)
2. Chris Morris (Rajasthan Royals). 162.5m rupees ($2.2m)
3. Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders, subject to availability). 155m rupees ($2.1m)
4. MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings). 150m rupees ($2.05m)
5. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians). 150m rupees ($2.05m)
6. Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals). 150m rupees ($2.05m)
7. Kyle Jamieson (Royal Challengers Bangalore). 150m rupees ($2.05m)
8. Glenn Maxwell (Royal Challengers Bangalore). 142.5m rupees ($1.95m)
9. Jhye Richardson (Punjab Kings, unavailable). 140m rupees ($1.91m)
10. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad). 125m rupees ($1.71m)
11. Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals, unavailable). 125m rupees ($1.71m)
12. Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders). 125m rupees ($1.71m)
13. Hardik Pandya (Mumbai Indians). 110m rupees ($1.5m)
14. AB de Villiers (Royal Challengers Bangalore). 110m rupees ($1.5m)
15. KL Rahul (Punjab Kings). 110m rupees ($1.5m)
16. Manish Pandey (Sunrisers Hyderabad). 110m rupees ($1.5m)
17. Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings). 110m rupees ($1.5m)
18. Krishnappa Gowtham (Chennai Super Kings). 92.5m rupees ($1.26m)
19. Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad). 90m rupees ($1.23m)
20. Krunal Pandya (Mumbai Indians). 88m rupees ($1.2m)