The Board of Control for Cricket in India has zeroed in on the September-October window for this year’s Indian Premier League, but that is subject to the postponement of Asia Cup and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, according to league chairman Brijesh Patel.
Patel also said on Thursday that the event can be held overseas as games in empty stadiums make the location irrelevant.
“We are looking at the September-October window but that is subject to the postponement of the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. We will also have to follow the government guidelines at that time,” Patel told PTI.
The Asia Cup is scheduled in September and T20 World Cup in October-November. The fate of both the events is not decided yet with the ICC likely to take a call on the World Cup in Australia next month.
Considering the rising cases in India, there is an option to organise the league overseas. The UAE and Sri Lanka have already shown interest in hosting the world’s biggest T20 league.
“First preference is India of course but a lot will depend on the situation at that time. Sri Lanka has offered to host it and so has UAE, we will see where we can play. If you are playing without crowds, it doesn’t matter where you play,” said Patel.
The 2009 edition was held in South Africa due to the general elections and because of the same reason, the tournament was held partially in the UAE in 2014.
The BCCI stands to lose Rs 4000 crore if the IPL doesn’t take place. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has also said that the board is exploring all options to stage the IPL. He even spoke about having the tournament in front of empty stands in his latest communication to Board affiliates.
“The BCCI is working on all possible options to ensure that we’re able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing in empty stadiums,” said Ganguly.
He added: “Fans, franchisees, players, broadcasters, sponsors and all stakeholders are looking forward to the possibility of IPL being hosted this year. Recently, a lot of players, both from India and other countries, participating in the IPL have also shown their keenness on being a part of the tournament this year. We are optimistic and the BCCI will shortly decide on the future course of action on this.”
Asked if the plan is to have a shorter IPL, Patel said: “We want normal duration for the tournament but again it depends on which tournament [Asia Cup or World Cup] is postponed.
“IPL is an important tournament for the board, sponsors, broadcasters and the players. Everyone wants it to happen. I am sure the players are itching to take the field.”
In another interview with The Times of India, Patel said: “Right now, we’re saying it’s tentative because finalities of the schedule can only be worked out once official confirmations arrive. Talks are going on with the league’s multiple stakeholders and we’re all on board. So, it’s a matter of time before we start putting things in place.”.
Patel said the sooner the ICC decides on the T20 World Cup, the better it would be for all the stakeholders. He also said the IPL can be held without fans but not the World Cup.
“I think the ICC will take a call soon. If the World Cup is happening, then teams need to start preparing too. Also, World Cup without crowd is no World Cup but you can play an IPL behind closed doors,” added Patel.
On Thursday, Kolkata Knight Riders franchise CEO Venky Mysore wanted the tournament to go ahead without any format changes, saying that not having overseas players is not how he would want IPL 2020 to happen.
(With PTI inputs)