The fate of the Indian Premier League (IPL) remains in limbo as window period is still unclear. However, another foreign country emerged in interest of hosting the tournament until the governing body plot concrete plans for the cash-rich T20 tournament. New Zealand, an island nation, which has set example with the way it has contained COVID-19.
The Kiwis is the latest country, after the UAE and Sri Lanka, which has offered to host the IPL as confirmed by a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official. The board’s first choice is staging the tournament at home. However, with India having the third largest case load of coronavirus cases behind Brazil and USA, the “last option” according to the official is to hold it outside the country.
“Staging the event in India has to be the first choice, but in case it’s not safe to have it, then we will look at the overseas options. After UAE and Sri Lanka, New Zealand has also offered to host the IPL,” the official said. “We will sit down with all stakeholders (broadcaster, teams, etc) and take a call. The safety of the players is paramount. There will be no compromise on that.”
With New Zealand, India has a seven and half hour time difference that means people in India, in terms of live broadcast, will miss the live-action. As far as the venues are concerned, places like Wellington, Christchurch, Napier, or Dunedin will require air travel. The official added that the date of the IPL Governing Council meeting will be announced including the fate of Chinese sponsorship deals in the IPL.
Previously, 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. Shortly after this offer, the United Arab Emirates, which had hosted the first leg of IPL in 2014, has emerged as one of the options as the governing body received an offer from the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB)
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 champions later.
Earlier, reports claims that the competition, due to begin on March 29 and pushed back to April 15, will be set to commence with the idea of “one city only tournament” in October. Despite the the worst-hit cities in India the same report claims that the BCCI is looking to host the 2020 edition of the IPL in Mumbai, maintaining a bio-bubble, according to the same report.
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