The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is exploring all the options to make sure that the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) takes place, including staging it outside India as their “last option”. The cash-rich Twenty20 competition, due to begin on March 29 and pushed back to April 15, was postponed indefinitely and remains in limbo despite the lighter restrictions in the country.
Speaking to a news portal, BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal hints the possibility of staging the league outside India. “If it is safe for our players to play IPL in India, then it would be our first preference but in case the situation does not permit and we are not left with any choice and a window is available then we can look at moving IPL 2020 out of India,” Dhumal said.
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.
“We have done it in the past in South Africa. We may not want to do it willingly but if that’s the only possibility then there is not much anyone can do about it,” Dhumal further added. “No country is safe from the Covid-19 pandemic so it’s not going to be easy if we decided to shift IPL out of the country and take players to Sri Lanka, Dubai or South Africa.”
Previously, Dhumal has confirmed the offer from the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to host the cash-rich league shortly after Sri Lanka had also offered to host the tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket (CLC) chief Shammi Silva has offered to host the eight-team league while the Indian governing body finds a “safe” window later in the year to hold the tournament.
“The situation is almost the same everywhere, international travel restrictions are also a problem. Srilanka was okay but in the last couple of days cases have risen there so problem are there, we need to deal with them,” Dhumal finished. Last week, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had deferred a decision on “all agenda items” until June 10 as speculations of T20 cancellation rise.
With the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia in October and India currently in the middle of monsoon season, it is highly unlikely that the IPL could be rescheduled for October-November window. If in case the T20 World Cup postponed, the BCCI will get an opportunity to organise the IPL in that window, with the participation of foreign players if things will get better during that time.
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