With the T20 World Cup’s postponement clearing the decks for a full-fledged IPL tournament, the glitzy event’s Governing Council will meet in a week or 10 days’ time to plan its next course of action, eyeing UAE as the host this year, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel has said.
An IPL season between September and early November has been made possible by the ICC’s decision on Monday (July 20) to postpone the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled to be held in October-November, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The IPL GC will meet within a week or 10 days and all decisions (including the final schedule) will be taken there. As of now, the plan is to have a full-fledged IPL comprising 60 games and most likely in the UAE,” Patel said.
Asked about the main challenges in conducting the event in the current scenario, Patel said, “Just the operational side of it. Whether you do it here or outside, it doesn’t matter (with no crowds).” The franchisees had already been working on their plans for the IPL even before the ICC announcement.
With the majority of the Indian players not having access to grounds amid the pandemic, teams will need at least three to four weeks to get them ready. Foreign players will fly in directly to the UAE from their respective countries.
“Our players will need at least three to four weeks of training, if not more. We will finalise all our plans once the BCCI announces the dates. It looks like the IPL will be in the UAE and we are ready for that,” a team owner said.
IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel said on Monday that the BCCI will seek clearance from the government to conduct the IPL in UAE. “Hopefully, in next couple of weeks (BCCI) will seek clearances from the government for the tournament (IPL) to be played in the UAE,” Patel told India Today.
Since India tour Australia for a four-Test series right after the IPL, training of the Test players is also an important issue.
Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, who are not part of the IPL, are likely to train for the eagerly-awaited series in a bio-secure environment at the newly-renovated Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad during the time of the IPL.
A few fringe players are expected to join them at Motera along with the Indian team”s support staff, which is free during the IPL.
Work from home has become the norm amid the pandemic, therefore, there is a possibility that IPL commentary will happen from the comfort of the living room, a safer and cost effective-option considering the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, who is 71, are involved.
The viewership is expected to be a record one with people craving for live cricket, something KXIP co-owner Ness Wadia has said. However, it remains to be seen how much the broadcasters and teams are able to attract from the sponsors in the current financial climate.