The International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to postpone the Men's T20 World Cup in Australia has cleared the decks for the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) to firm up plans for hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In a chat with Sportstar, the IPL Governing Council chairman, Brijesh Patel, confirmed that UAE will host the tournament and also clarified that dates are yet to be decided. The Governing Council will meet virtually next week to discuss the future course of action and decide on the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the franchise-based tournament.
Now that the T20 World Cup has been postponed, what’s the way forward for the IPL?
The way forward is that we have decided on the venue – United Arab Emirates – and once we get clearance from the government, the dates will be finalised.
There are reports that the tournament could begin on September 28 and continue till November 8. Is that correct?
No. We have not finalised the dates yet. The governing council will meet by next week and select on the date.
Has the Emirates Cricket Board been formally informed about the decision?
We will do that now. UAE had anyway offered to host the tournament, now we will confirm them now. But before that, we need to confirm the dates and inform the Emirates Cricket Board accordingly. For now, no dates have been locked.
With travel restrictions and guidelines in place, how challenging will the preparation prove to be?
That won’t be an issue. UAE is well organised in terms of infrastructure. We have played there before, so we are aware of the facilities. The Asia Cup has been played there. It has also hosted other international fixtures in the past. So, in terms of cricketing infrastructure, they have everything. There are also enough hotels.
Will there be a bio-bubble?
We are working on the SOP and will decide on the course of action soon. The ICC has come out with a set of guidelines, FIFA has its own set of SOPs, we will take cue from all those and finalise our SOPs. The safety of players will be of utmost importance.
There were reports that some fans could be allowed if the tournament is held in the UAE. Is that true?
I don’t know what’s the scene in the UAE. We will deliberate with the UAE board and decide accordingly. Otherwise, we will have closed-door matches. We will finalise everything in the next few weeks.
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