The Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL), postponed due to coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown, is likely to be staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between October and November. Strong indications have emerged from the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) to this effect. The shifting of the showcase franchise event to UAE will however depend on the government’s clearance and the International Cricket Council (ICC) formally opting for the postponement of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah informed the members at the Apex Council meeting that was held on Friday.
The BCCI will first wait for a formal announcement on the fate of the T20 World Cup. Once the mega event, which is to be held during the same period, is officially postponed, then the BCCI will make a request to the Indian government to find out if the IPL can be hosted in India. In case the government thinks the prevailing COVID-19 situation is not suitable for hosting the IPL in the country, the board will then shift the tournament to the UAE.
Among other things, the board informed its Apex Council that no domestic cricket would be allowed until December. As per the stats available, 38 teams participate in multiple domestic and age-group related tournaments that are played across the country. The board wants tread cautiously on the domestic calendar keeping in view of key factors like logistics and players’ mobility in view.
As part of other crucial measures, tournaments like Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy and Challengers series will be done away with. Even the age-group tournaments will also be minimized drastically this season.
As widely perceived, besides domestic cricket, even international fixtures to be played at home appear a remote possibility this year.
Also, the Indian contingent is likely to be put through a training camp at the refurbished Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad in preparation for the series in Australia. This will be some consolation for the newly-reconstructed stadium, considered the biggest cricket arena in the world now, as it could not host its first match because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Chances appear high that the Indian cricket team may spend a few days in a camp before they fly off to Australia for the away series.
The stadium has quality accommodation inside its premises where players can stay. They can also be quarantined, if needed, and contracted players can experience open spaces to get back into the groove after an extended period away from cricket.