UAE has the infrastructure to host the IPL: Patel
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi hosted matches in the 2014 IPL.. Dubai and Sharjah were the other venues that hosted the first phase of the IPL that year. (KT file)
Dubai - The BCCI are looking at a tentative slot between September 26 and November 7
The decks are slowly being cleared for the UAE to host the Indian Premier League (IPL), with the IPL governing council chairman telling the Khaleej Times that the popular franchise league will be held on these shores, pending the Indian government's approval.
Following the postponement of the ICC T20 World Cup which was scheduled to be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15, the BCCI are looking at a September-November window for the world's richest franchise-based league.
"We have decided to have the IPL in the UAE," Brijesh Patel said over the phone on Tuesday.
The BCCI are looking at a tentative slot between September 26 and November 7.
"We are now awaiting the Indian government's approval. Every time we have to take it. We should get it shortly and we are planning to play it from September, October and November," added the 67-year-old, who played 21 Tests and 10 ODIs for India.
The Indian government's permission is mandatory and standard operating procedure for any tour, be it the IPL or the Indian team.
This will be the second instance that the popular franchise league will be held in the UAE. The country had hosted the first phase (20 matches) of the seventh edition of the tournament in 2014, because of the general elections in India.
This year's edition was initially scheduled to take place between March 29 and May 17 but had to be postponed indefinitely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But with the T20 World Cup postponed and the Asia Cup too announcing a postponement earlier, it has opened the door for the IPL.
"ECB (Emirates Cricket Board) had already sent us an invitation and were ready to host the IPL. We felt it is the right place because they have the infrastructure and we have played the IPL earlier over there. Apart from that, they have held so many international matches," said the former chairman of the selection committee.
Patel also spoke in glowing terms about the world class facilities that the UAE possess and said that it would be the ideal to hold the tournament in the country, considering the circumstances.
"The infrastructure is there, cricketing facilities are available, they have excellent stadiums and dressing rooms, practice facilities, hotels. And the wickets are also good. And you don't need to take flights from one city to another, you can drive down, You can sanitise the hotels and the transport," said Patel, while confirming that the tournament will be played at the three venues - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Patel also said that a bio-secure bubble will be in place and they will follow the guidelines set by the ICC for the safe resumption of cricket.
"We will follow what the ICC has recommended and we are also looking at other sports, what they are doing. We will see that the safety of the players, the support staff and broadcasters are taken care of," said Patel, former secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
It is still unclear whether the matches will be open to the public or will be played behind closed doors.
"It depends on the UAE government, what is their policy," said the former director of the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.