The BCCI is looking at the September-October window for holding the delayed 2020 edition of the IPL, Brijesh Patel, the chairman of the league’s governing council, has said. Whether the tournament can be slotted in there, however, “depends on the future” of the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup, which were originally scheduled for September and October-November respectively.
While there is considerable doubt over the two multi-team tournaments going ahead this year, the Asian Cricket Council is still hoping to hold the Asia Cup in September, and the ICC has adopted a wait-and-watch approach to decide the fate of the T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia.
“Yes, we are looking at those dates, but it all depends on the future of the T20 World Cup and the Asia Cup. Subject to that we are planning (the window for the IPL),” Patel told the Indian Express.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had also written to the state associations this week to say that he was optimistic about hosting the IPL, in empty stadiums if needed, and Patel echoed his thoughts.
“Again, it depends on how the situation is in September-October,” Patel said. “We have to go by the government directive. First we need the go-ahead from the government. You can’t play a World Cup in empty stadiums. But the IPL being a league, it can be staged behind closed doors. The official broadcaster is OK with that and so are the players because they want to play.”
When asked if the governing council was looking at the September-October window because it doesn’t expect the T20 World Cup to go ahead, Patel told the Hindu: “They can’t leave it till the last minute. All the teams have to prepare if they are going ahead with it. Otherwise all the alternative plans have to be in place. They should decide shortly.
“If the World Cup cannot happen, each board will have to think of how to utilise the October window in consultation with the respective governments.”
Patel also said that though the cricket boards in the UAE and in Sri Lanka had offered to host the IPL, the BCCI’s first preference would be to play it in India. “They (Emirates Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket) have informed us that they are prepared to host the IPL. But our first preference is India, if we get the government’s permission,” he said. “It is certain that we cannot play at more than three or four venues in India, but the permissions will depend on how the COVID-19 outbreak pans out.
“Otherwise we will have to explore playing overseas, which will be the last option. Once you are playing without spectators, it doesn’t really matter where you are playing as long as it suits television timings.”