UAE venues ready for IPL 2020 as cricket board receives acceptance letter

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The long postponed Indian Premier League (IPL) has confirmed to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following the speculations and discussion on when and where it will be staged in the wake of the pandemic. Earlier this week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official confirmed that the governing body has sent the acceptance letter to the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for the tournament.

“Yes, we have sent the acceptance letter to the ECB and both the boards will be working together from now on to stage the tournament,” Governing Council Chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Brijesh Patel told a news portal. The IPL, which was originally set to take place on March 29 in India, was postponed indefinitely due to the threats of the coronavirus pandemic.

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According to earlier reports, ECB had sent the proposal to the BCCI in April to host the 2020 season of the IPL shortly after Sri Lanka offers in hosting the event league while the Indian governing body finds a “safe” window. 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.

The BCCI is also looking to host a camp in UAE for their contracted players. The camp will be a short one and will assess fitness of the players. Some reports said that the camp is most likely to be held at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Patel added that the training camps will be held in the UAE in a bio-secure environment and “the teams need at least three to four weeks to prepare for the tournament”.

Patel further confirmed that the eight IPL franchises – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and the Royal Challengers Bangalore – will host their respective pre-tournament training camps in the UAE as well. Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi will be hosting the matches.

Following the postponement of the T20 World Cup by the International Cricket Council (ICC), IPL is now set to be held during the window of September 19 to November 8 according to Patel. The franchisees had already been working on their plans for the IPL while the BCCI has already written to the government and is awaiting a formal go signal.

When asked if IPL 2020 will be played behind closed doors, Patel earlier said the decision “depends on the UAE government”. A full-fledged IPL consisting of 60 matches is on the cards and the league is expected to be completed inside 44 days. The BCCI wants to conclude the tournament early in November to ensure the Indian players can leave on time for their Test series against Australia.

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