Dubai: The United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka have emerged as the two frontrunners to host the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League as the showpiece may eventually move overseas in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still awaiting an official decision on the fate of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November, before taking a final call.
Reiterating the choice of these two countries, Arun Dhumal, BCCI treasurer told Gulf News over phone: ‘‘The boards of both these countries have offered us to host the event sometime back and we are keeping our options open. Once a formal decision is taken on the World T20, we can go ahead with our plans in case the IPL has to be hosted overseas.’’
While the IPL governing council is yet to decide on a meeting date to take their plans forward, it’s learnt that the Indian board is now buoyant that the World T20 will now be postponed in the wake of ICC chairman Shashank Manohar’s stepping down immediately on the expiry of his term on Wednesday.
The prospect of staging the IPL overseas gained momentum as the pandemic situation in India is still snowballing with more 600,000 cases reported till date.
A Indian news agency had earlier reported that the decision-makers in the BCCI were divided in 3:2 ratio with regards to deciding on the venue of the league. “See, it is a case of the decisionmakers being divided 3-2 if that is how you wish to understand the current scenario. There are a couple of voices who feel that having the tournament should be the priority and if that means taking it out of the country, so be it. So, while we are working on the overall plan, the venue is an area which will need further deliberation. Also, at the end of the day safety of the players and everyone involved is priority,” a BCCI official told IANS.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel has also been vocal that location shouldn’t be a concern if the league is being played behind closed doors. “They (Emirates Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket) have informed us that they are prepared to host the IPL. But our first preference is India, if we get the government’s permission.
“It is certain that we cannot play at more than three or four venues in India, but the permissions will depend on how the COVID-19 outbreak pans out. Otherwise we will have to explore playing overseas, which will be the last option. Once you are playing without spectators, it doesn’t really matter where you are playing as long as it suits television timings,” Patel said in an interview recently.