UAE in pole position to host IPL
The UAE had hosted a part of the IPL in 2014. - Agencies
Dubai - The BCCI is apparently eyeing a September-November window for the event.
The talk is gathering speed and the likelihood of the UAE hosting the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is looking closer and closer to being a reality.
According to media reports from India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is pondering shifting the cash-rich franchise-based league to the UAE again.
The BCCI is apparently eyeing a September-November window for the event, which has been put on ice indefinitely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Outlook reported that the eight franchise owners - champions Mumbai Indians, runners-up Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad - held a meeting earlier this week and they were open to playing the league overseas because of the situation.
If the tournament is held in the UAE, it is most likely to be held behind closed doors with it set to be broadcast to a worldwide audience.
The UAE, apart from hosting many top-class sporting events as well as international cricket series and ICC events, had previously hosted the first phase of the IPL in 2014 because of the general elections in India.
The UAE is home to world class cricketing facilities like the Dubai International Cricket Stadium as well as the adjacent ICC Cricket Academy, the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi and the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, so steeped in history.
Subhan Ahmad, Emirates Cricket Board Advisor, said the UAE would be a strong contender to stage a premier event like the IPL.
"The BCCI has had previous experience of hosting the IPL matches in UAE. With a large Indian and other subcontinent expat population, same time zone and world class venues, ECB is confident that UAE will be a strong contender to host IPL matches," Ahmad told the Khaleej Times during an interview last month.
Former Indian captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had previously said that hosting the tournament in India remains the priority but is also prepared to shift the popular event abroad if the situation doesn't improve in the country and if there's a spike in Covid cases.
This year's edition was scheduled to take place between March 29 and May 17.
The BCCI are staring at a whopping Rs.40 billion loss if the IPL doesn't take place.
The chances of holding the competition this year as well as in the UAE seems strong because there is the likelihood of this year's T20 World Cup being cancelled. Australia are scheduled to host the T20 showpiece from October 18 to November 15.
With the Asia Cup too being postponed, the decks are clear for the BCCI to hold the tournament in the UAE.
And the UAE, who has done admirably well in the battle against the pandemic, will be ready to roll the red carpet for the competition.
The UAE are more than capable of providing a bio-secure bubble to the teams and the players, a recent example being the popular Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event UFC which is currently ongoing in Abu Dhabi.
The BCCI will hold a remote meeting on Friday to discuss many topics on the agenda including India's Future Tours and Programme (FTP) and the IPL.