IPL
Indian cricket board has started exploring all options of hosting the IPL 2020, including moving it overseas. Image Credit: AP file

Dubai: The UAE’s aspirations of hosting the IPL 2020 found a backer in Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian skipper and legendary batsman, when he pitched for a truncated version of the event away from the country in September-October.

Speaking at a cricketing conclave on Saturday, Gavaskar said that even if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secures a window for IPL 2020, it will not be ideal to host the tournament in India due to the possible monsoon during those two months.

With the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and the Sri Lankan board both offering to step in as hosts if required - in view of the COVID-19 situation in India -

Gavskar also said a shortened tournament will be feasible, considering the restrictions and safety protocols. “If the IPL is held in Sri Lanka from September then it might be possible. If you play somewhere overseas then the home and away factor won’t be there. So instead of the 14 matches per team, the tournament will be reduced to maybe seven matches per team. That might be possible and only then may be the IPL can happen. Then we can have IPL in September-October, not in India because there can be monsoon at that time. Maybe, Sri Lanka or UAE can host the IPL,” he said.

If you play somewhere overseas then the home and away factor won’t be there. So instead of the 14 matches per team, the tournament will be reduced to maybe seven matches per team. That might be possible and only then may be the IPL can happen

- Sunil Gavaskar

IPL 2020 has been postponed until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the tournament has missed the April-May window, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, in a letter to state associations and stakeholders, said the cricket board is hopeful of hosting the event in India in September-October.

Meanwhile, Gavaskar said the T20 World Cup can also go ahead as scheduled if the Australian government is confident of hosting the 16-team tournament.

While the ICC has deferred the final call on T20 World Cup to July, Australia will allow crowds of up to 10,000 at small stadiums to watch sport as part of plans to ease social distancing restrictions in July, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.

“After hearing what the Australian govt said, it seems like the T20 World Cup can happen. Players will have to reach Australia earlier than usual for the 14-day quarantine period and then for the practice matches. If the ICC accepts that the tournament will have to happen then it will be difficult to hold the IPL. If the T20 World Cup got cancelled, then only the IPL window was possible.

“The T20 World Cup can happen but there will be 16 teams in the tournament with 15 players each including their support staff, doctors, etc.

“It will be difficult to hold but if the Australian government says it can happen, then it can happen maybe in October-November. There is still some time, may be the curve in India also will flatten by then,” Gavaskar added.