The Indian cricket board (BCCI) will seek government permission to stage this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates, league chief Brijesh Patel told Reuters on Tuesday.
Monday’s postponement of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, which had been scheduled to take place in Australia from 18 October, has presented the BCCI with a new opportunity to stage the IPL, even if it has to be in another country due to the COVID-19 crisis in India.
Cricket boards in UAE and Sri Lanka have offered to host the league considering the situation in India where the number of coronavirus cases had surged to 1.16 million on Tuesday morning, including 28,084 deaths.
“We are yet to finalise when it will begin, maybe sometime in September,” IPL governing council chairman Patel told Reuters by telephone.
“They (Emirates Cricket Board) made an offer to host it but we require government permission to stage it in UAE.
“We’ll discuss the issue in the next governing council meeting in 7-10 days.”
The BCCI has been looking for a new window in which to stage the lucrative league, which was postponed days before it was to begin in late March, and avoid a potential $536 million loss in revenue.
Earlier this month, BCCI treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal told Reuters they would consider hosting the IPL abroad as a last resort to salvage the tournament.
The 2009 edition of the franchise-based league, which coincided with India’s elections, was held in South Africa, and the UAE hosted the early matches of the tournament five years later for the same reason.
“We have played there before and they are familiar in organising international matches. They are well-equipped,” Patel said.
“From a pandemic position, too, the situation is significantly better there.”
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The BCCI was forced to suspend the lucrative T20 tournament indefinitely midway into the season after multiple cases of the dreaded virus were reported inside the bio-bubble.
PSL was postponed on 4 March in Karachi after an outbreak of positive cases among the franchises.
Warner and Slater are in a group of 39 Australians, comprising players, coaches and support staff, to have flown to the Maldives on Thursday on a charter flight organised and paid for by the BCCI.