The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has more or less zeroed in on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to host the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 if the International Cricket Council (ICC) postpones the T20 World Cup, scheduled for October-November.
The development comes after the BCCI Apex Council meeting which was held via teleconference on Monday. The roadmap for IPL 2020 which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic was among the primary item in an 11-point agenda marked for the meeting.
UAE, which had hosted the first leg of IPL in 2014, was zeroed in as the frontrunner as the board expects the quarantine period in the wake of the pandemic to come down to a day or so during the window targetted for the IPL.
IPL was suspended until further notice after it missed the April-May deadline due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, told India Today, that the board is keen on hosting the T20 tournament if the ICC decides to postpone the T20 World Cup.
Ganguly had said India would be considered as the first-choice venue for hosting the IPL but the BCCI president also maintained that players and stakeholders’ safety is a primary concern and that a suitable decision would be taken accordingly.
Why the UAE?
Apart from the reduced quarantine period, the BCCI also believes that the UAE, being a travel hub, is well connected. Medical facilities and previous experience of hosting the IPL may work in the UAE’s favour.
he BCCI is now targetting a shortened window of 5 to 6 weeks for IPL 2020 between September and early November, provided the T20 World Cup is postponed.
The ICC deferred its call on the T20 World Cup to July, saying it wants to take a ‘right’ decision as it ‘gets only one chance to make’ it.
Australia also reimposed a 6-week lockdown in Melbourne fearing a second wave of the novel coronavirus in Victoria on July 7. The decision to impose strict lockdown measures in the 2nd largest city in Australia has come as a major blow to the chances of the T20 World Cup going ahead as scheduled.
Notably, Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, as early as June, described the staging of the Twenty20 World Cup this year as “unlikely”, pointing out the practical difficulties in hosting a 16-team tournament in the wake of the pandemic.
Another decisive comment came from Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani, who is also the chief of ICC Finance & Commercial Affairs committee, when he said T20 World Cup in 2020 is “not feasible”.
Training camp likely in Ahmedabad
International cricket has resumed after the enforced break due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the ongoing Test series between England and West Indies. Pakistan have also reached England for their Test and T20I series in August-September and other teams, including Sri Lanka and South Africa, have begun training.
However, BCCI had said it would organise a training camp for its contracted players only when it can guarantee health and safety.
As it turns out, the subject of training camp for the contracted players also came up for discussion during the apex council meeting.
Dharamsala and Ahmedabad were discussed as two options where a bio-bubble can be created but Dharamsala was ruled out because of lack of accommodation.
Ahmedabad now seems to be the frontrunner for hosting the training camp if the BCCI conducts a training camp for the players. It was noted that players cannot train at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru because of the existing situation with regards to the pandemic.