After a lot of speculation, there is finally news on the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). There is a big possibility that the cash-rich T20 league is shifted to the UAE this year. The 13th edition which was originally supposed to start on 29th March was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is some positive news coming from the BCCI.
ESPNcricinfo understands that UAE can host the entire IPL 2020 and BCCI has set September 26th to November 7th as the tentative dates. A final call will be taken once ICC decides the fate of the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place between October 18th and November 15th in Australia later this year. It is likely that the mega event will be postponed considering the COVID-19 situation in various nations.
BCCI held an Apex Council meeting on 17th July (Friday) to discuss the feasibility of the IPL 2020, viewing various options. It is understood that BCCI’s first-choice would be hosting the tournament in India. Mumbai was picked as the venue. However, with the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the country and Mumbai which holds the greatest number of cases in India, the Indian cricket board identified UAE as the next best bet. In fact, the BCCI has also written to the Indian government to obtain necessary permission for travel of the players and officials.
If the IPL 2020 gets the green signal to be played in UAE, it will be the second time that UAE will be hosting the IPL. The first half (20 games) of the seventh edition of the IPL was played there due to the General Elections in India. Back in 2014, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah hosted the games and the same three venues are being considered once again. Moreover, it is likely that the Indian T20 extravaganza will be played behind closed doors.
Also, if the IPL is finalized to take place in UAE along, franchises are expected to start preparations at least one month in advance – not only for training but also to adhere to the quarantine rules in the UAE. The Emirates Cricket Board is all set to host the mega T20 league and is just waiting for a confirmation from the BCCI.
“We are ready to fully support the IPL if it chooses to come and play in the UAE. We will provide all the support concerning the protocol and government permission required to host the IPL. We are waiting for written confirmation from BCCI,” Mubashshir Usmani, the Emirates Cricket Board secretary was quoted saying to ESPNcricinfo.
After the completion of the IPL, India are due to tour Australia and the Test series is scheduled to start in the first week of December.