As the restrictions in regards to holding sports events in Australia, the host country of the T20 World Cup, now eased by the government, the fate of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is back in jeopardy. Previously, the IPL governing body is looking for October-November window to commence the league, which is only possible if and only if the, scheduled to be held in Australia in October, will be delayed.
In the wake of the discussion of whether the Indian-based tournament will commence this year, Australia looks good to host the T20 World Cup in October after having handled the COVID-19 situation well. This window is the opportunity of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to host the IPL in India as claimed by the board’s official earlier.
However, the Australia government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison has now formally announced that 25% crowd can turn up for sporting events which gives light to the tournament to be held Down Under. The possibility of holding the event in Australia is backed by former India captain and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar saying that “IPL in October looks difficult”.
“After the announcement by the Australian government, there seems to be a possibility of conducting a World T20 in October,” Gavaskar said. “Maybe the teams will have to reach three weeks earlier, have seven days of practice games and also 14-day quarantine”. The ICC has twice deferred its decision regarding the future of the T20 World Cup, during its meetings on May 27 and June 10.
Gavskar also said that the BCCI can think about hosting IPL 2020 overseas and a shortened tournament will be feasible. “If the IPL is held in Sri Lanka from September then it might be possible. If you play somewhere overseas then the home and away factor won’t be there. So instead of the 14 matches per team, the tournament will be reduced to maybe 7 matches per team,” he said.
Earlier, a BCCI official said that staging the league overseas is their “last option”. It is learnt that Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) offers to host the league shortly after Sri Lanka. “That might be possible and only then maybe the IPL can happen. Then we can have IPL in September-October, not in India because there can be monsoon at that time. Maybe, Sri Lanka or UAE can host the IPL,” Gavaskar added.
In the past, IPL has been staged outside India. In 2009, South Africa hosted the second IPL, while the first half of the 2014 season took place across three stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. UAE hosted the first 20 matches of IPL 2014 as the April leg of the tournament was shifted out of the country due to General Elections. The tournament was completed in India where Kolkata Knight Riders were crowned.
Last week, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, in a letter to state associations and stakeholders, said that the governing body “is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums”. He said that they are “optimistic” about the return of cricket as the governing “will shortly decide on the future course of action on this”.
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