Dubai: The UAE is the choice of the Indian cricket board to host the IPL 2020 in the window vacated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday, confirmed Brijesh Patel, an Indian star of the Seventies and chairman of the league’s governing council.
The suspense over the T20 World Cup in Australia, originally scheduled in October-November, was eventually lifted when the ICC formally postponed the showpiece for a later date (either in 2021 or 2022) due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which had been doing the groundwork for staging their biggest money-spinner, is expected to get down to business in right earnest to now make the tournament happen in the tentative time slot between September 26 and November 7.
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Speaking to Gulf News over phone from India, Patel explained the rationale behind choosing the UAE once they realised the inevitablity about shifting the tournament abroad in view of the spiralling outbreak of the virus in India. ‘‘The clincher for us was that the UAE have a great infra-structure there - from the venues to the practice facilities. There is a wide selection of hotels and most importantly, they know our expectations as they have hosted the event once in 2014,’’ he said.
The next step for the BCCI, according to Patel, is to host the governing council meeting and take a formal permission from the federal government of India to stage the tournament abroad. “The governing council meeting is expected to take place within a week. There will be discussions on the scheduling of the tournament and we will also look at the operational aspect,” Patel said.
The clincher for us was that the UAE have a great infra-structure there - from the venues to the practice facilities. There is a wide selection of hotels and most importantly, they know our expectations as they have hosted the event once in 2014
When contacted, Mubashir Usmani, General Secretary of Emirates Cricket Board said: ‘‘We are yet to receive any official communication from the BCCI. However, as we said before, we are ready to put our best foot forward and procure all the government approvals once any confirmation comes through.’’
While the BCCI has reportedly zeroed in a slot of 44 days finishing by the first week of November, a news report in a major English daily in India says Star India - broadcasting partner of IPL, is not happy with the ‘‘constricted scheduling’’ of the tournament by the BCCI as they want to make the most of the Diwali week to woo advertisers for the prime advertising slots.
The report says that while the broadcast partners wants IPL 2020 to be extended till Diwali in order to boost advertising revenues, BCCI remains firm on ending the tournament by the first week of November to ensure the Indian team has enough time for the scheduled Test series against Australia which starts on December 3.
The IPL 2020 edition was scheduled to commence from March 29 this year, but it had to be postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cricket Australia, meanwhile, has welcomed the ICC’s decision of postponing the T20 World Cup. “We accept the ICC’s decision to postpone the T20 World Cup in Australia. It was a decision made with the safety and well-being of fans, players, officials and staff in mind,” Nick Hockley, the interim chief executive of Cricket Australia and chief executive of the event, said in a statement.