Dubai: The only ‘realistic’ window to host the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, according to a senior official of the Indian cricket board, will be between October and November if the T20 World Cup in Australia cannot be held as per schedule.
‘‘If the World T20 is held in Australia as per schedule (October 18 to November 15), then it will be almost impossible to find a window for the IPL which needs around seven weeks. If the ICC reschedules the World Cup and the coronavirus pandemic comes under control by that time, then there is a possibility of hosting the IPL this year,’’ said Arun Dhumal, the treasurer of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The league, the biggest moneyspinner for the Indian board for over a decade now, was ‘‘indefinitely postponed’’ when the Indian government decided to extend the lockdown for the second time from April 15 onwards. There were, however, again a number of speculations doing the rounds when the government announced a relaxation to open up the stadia and sports facilities during Lockdown 4.0, but Dhumal saw no merit in them.
Speaking to Gulf News in a telephonic chat, the BCCI official said: ‘‘The facilities opened up is expected to start sporting activities around the country at a low key level, including allowing cricketers to resume outdoor practice with safety protocol. However, with the travel restrictions still very much in place and the monsoons due to hit the country next month, any plan to host the IPL so soon is completely unfounded.’’
If the ICC decides to postpone the event, that will open the door for the BCCI to say that we will have our IPL in India - which actually puts the onus back on individuals then rather than nations moving whole teams over to a certain country
A news agency report says on Wednesday that the BCCI is eyeing a window from September 25 to November 1, which is again dependant on the dates of World T20, alongwith the other international commitments for India during the month of September to November. The Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in September (the venue of which is yet to be announced but the UAE appears to be the only logical choice), will consume nearly three weeks - following which England are due to visit India for a white ball series in September.
The problem with hosting any multi-nation event in the current climate - be it the Asia Cup or the World T20 - will be the logistical nightmare for the boards to make their players travel from respective countries and then go through the compulsory quarantine procedure. A good example of this is the news of Pakistan and the West Indies, who will be required to send enlarged squads to England with the players’ quarantine in mind as well playing cricket in ‘bio-secure’ environment.
At least two countries - Sri Lanka and the UAE - have volunteered to host the IPL in case India are still in a spot to host the tournament, but all indications are it will now be held in India if at all.
Interestingly, Mark Taylor, former Australian captain and now a TV pundit, was forthright when he said a few days back that the IPL is set to take the place of World T20. Taylor said if postponed IPL is held, the travel will be a player’s individual responsibility and not his national board’s.
“I think that’s the most likely scenario (postponement of T20 World Cup) because 15 teams planning to come to Australia between October and November, 45 matches over a proposed seven venues, national travel is going to extremely difficult in the world we are living in,” Taylor said.
“14 days isolation before that makes it even harder. More than likely that event is not going ahead. So if the ICC decides to postpone the event that will open the door for the BCCI to say that we will have our IPL is India which actually puts the onus back on individuals then rather than nations moving whole teams over to a certain country.”