The International Cricket Council’s decision over the T20 World Cup’s postponement is still awaited but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is doing its preparations for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the Apex Council meeting on Friday, the possible schedule and venue details are said to have been discussed, though the final call can only be taken after the T20 World Cup has officially been postponed. Accordingly, the BCCI is set to submit two proposals to the Indian government over hosting the IPL. Based on government guidance and the COVID-19 situation, it would be decided whether the T20 league should be held in India or shifted outside.
As of now, Dubai has emerged as the strongest contender to host IPL 2020 if the board decides to organise the league outside the country. What works in Dubai’s favour is the ease with which overseas players can be flown in for the tournament in comparison to India where the COVID-19 is still rampant.
“Since Dubai is a frequent port of transit for international travel, flying in international cricketers will be a lot easier in Dubai, as opposed to India,” a BCCI source told Cricket Age.
It is expected to be a curtailed IPL, with multiple matches in a single day over 30-40 days. If the league is held in India, Maharashtra is the most likely host since it has multiple venues in Mumbai and Pune.
What also has to be considered is that the state is the worst-hit by COVID-19 in the country which makes hosting the league there extremely risky. Even if the BCCI is ready to take that risk, they would need both central and state governments’ approvals to do so.
“Both proposals, of staging the IPL at four venues in Mumbai-Pune as well as taking it to UAE will be put forth. A final decision will be taken based on government’s advice. If the ICC calls off the T20 World Cup, the IPL Governing Council will meet and take a call,” the source added.
UAE too is keen. Speaking to Gulf News, Salman Hanif, Head of Cricket & Events of Dubai Sports City (which includes the Dubai International Stadium & the ICC Academy) said they were ready to host and provide practice facilities. “The stadium has nine wickets on the top in case a large number of matches have to be accommodated within a smaller time-frame. We will not be scheduling any matches there to keep the wickets fresh,” said Hanif.
“The practice facilities are never going to be a problem as we have hosted multi-team events before. In the ICC complex alone, there are 38 wickets — spread over the two Oval grounds, the simulated turf wickets as well as the state-of-the-art indoor facilities in case they want to beat the heat.”
The board also informed it’s Apex Council that no domestic cricket would be held until December. Thirty-eight teams take part in various domestic and age-group tournaments played across the country. Since players’ mobility is a big factor, the board doesn’t want to taking any hasty decision on its domestic calendar.
Tournaments like Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy and Challengers series will be scrapped and age-group tournaments too will take a major hit this season.
Not just domestic cricket, but no international games are likely to be played at home this year.
New CEO advertisement
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No objection raised at Shah’s presence
BCCI secretary Jay Shah attended the Apex Council meeting and there was no objection raised by any of its members. Board President Sourav Ganguly shared legal opinion from a former chief justice of India and also from the BCCI’s legal team that the eligibility criteria and cooling-off period was relevant only for contesting elections and not for attending meetings, and Shah breached no rules by doing so. The representative of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in the Apex Council, Alka Rehani Bharadwaj, had raised a red flag over the matter in her mail dated July 4. She argued that Shah couldn’t attend the meeting as his term had ended last month and he should go for a cooling-off period, as per the Lodha Committee’s recommendations. She hadasked for the joint secretary to “officiate” as the secretary during the meeting.