As the 13th edition of Indian Premier League was indefinitely suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sri Lankan governing body offered to host the tournament, AFP reported on Thursday.
With the lockdown extended in India, BCCI confirmed that the cash-rich Twenty20 competition, already pushed back from its original start date of March 29, “will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so”.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board on Thursday offered to host the lucrative tournament in the island nation, which says it has been less impacted by the virus.
“We have the venues and the resources to hold the IPL in Sri Lanka,” Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva told AFP.
Silva – who is set to make a formal offer to his Indian counterpart – hopes the outbreak could be brought under control in Sri Lanka, which is currently under an indefinite curfew to combat the spread of the virus.
The cash-rich tournament was twice held outside India due to its dates clashing with parliamentary elections. South Africa hosted the second IPL edition in 2009, and the first half of the 2014 season took place in the UAE.
“The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remains our top priority,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah added in a statement.
“BCCI will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding a potential start date.”
A team official told AFP Wednesday the IPL would be indefinitely postponed, but that they would “find a window in the later end of the year to do it”.
PM Narendra Modi announced this week that India’s lockdown will be extended till May 3.
Media reports said the BCCI may aim for a tournament in September-October, ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on sporting tournaments, with the International Olympic Committee and Japan last month taking the historic decision to delay the Olympics by a year.
Leading foreign players have been pushing for the IPL to take place, with Australia’s Steve Smith saying he hoped the league would be held “at some stage”.
(With AFP inputs)