Dubai: The suspense over Asia Cup dates as well as the fate of T20 World Cup has to end if the Indian Premier League (IPL) has to eventually go ahead, according to a top honcho of the Indian cricket board.
While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has kept alive all options in their efforts to not miss out on the IPL 2020, including staging it overseas in the UAE or Sri Lanka, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel admits they are not sure of the window unless a final call is taken on both the multi-nation tournaments. It is learnt that the IPL is mulling a slot between September 26 to November 8 in order to have a full-fledged version of the event, but it’s not feasible if either of the continental event or the World T20 eventually takes place.
Speaking to Gulf News exclusively in a telephone interview, Patel, a former Indian star of the Seventies said: ‘‘It’s already mid-June and we don’t officially know the dates of the Asia Cup. The cricketers have been out of competitive action for over three months and they have to get back into the swing of things if they have to participate in the continental event, where we are the defending champions.’’
The last time the Asia Cup was held in the UAE in 2018, Rohit Sharma-led India emerged as champions - beating Bangladesh by a single run in the final in Dubai. This time around, it’s the turn of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) rotationally to host the event and since India will not be visiting the neighbours, PCB is on the verge of finalising talks with Sri Lanka Cricket to the host the event there in September.
A PCB spokesperson said that since the Asia Cup will benefit all the participating countries like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, they saw the wisdom of hosting it in a neutral country where India can visit to take part. They have also reportedly written to the ACC President Nazmul Hassan to convene a teleconference to finalise the venue and schedule for the T20 Asia Cup in September.
When asked if the Cricket Australia chairman’s statement of hosting the World T20 this year as ‘‘unrealistic’’ raises the hopes for IPL, Patel said: ‘‘It does not help our planning if there is no formal decision. As we see it, there is no point in hosting an event like the Asia Cup or World T20 before empty stadiums but in case of IPL, we are ready to do it as the TV audience will not be deprived.’’
Meanwhile, Wasim Khan, CEO of PCB took a hard line when he told a news channel few days back: “Our stance is absolutely clear, the Asia Cup is set for September and the only reason it should not take place is continued health safety issues. We will not accept that the Asia Cup is moved to accommodate the IPL.”