First publised on 2020-07-25 20:01:58
With the ICC postponing the T20 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand due to the pandemic, the coast is now clear for the BCCI to hold the IPL in the September-November window. But with the coronavirus situation grave in India and flights not operating between many cities, there is no way the tournament can be held here. So the BCCI has decided to hold IPL 2020 in the UAE. The last time some matches of the tournament were held there was in 2014 due to the Lok Sabha elections. For the BCCI, the UAE is the best option in the present situation as there is no travel involved in that country and the infrastructure is top-notch. A friendly regime in the UAE will ensure quick approvals for most things.
But that is once the whole set up reaches there. Before that, the BCCI will have to handle a huge logistics problem, made worse by the pandemic. It will also have to get permission from the Indian government. It will have to address the various concerns of all the stakeholders. The tournament was to be played from September 26 to November 8 initially. But after objections from the broadcaster Star Sports and some of the franchisees, the BCCI extended the days and now IPL 2020 will be played September 19 and end as per earlier schedule. That will obviate the need to have fewer matches. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said, "it is a full 51-day IPL."
Since players and supports staff will have to travel from all over India and the world and maintain the protocol of quarantine and bio-bubble, the next few days are going to be extremely important for the BCCI and all stakeholders. The franchisees will also want the players to reach well ahead of the start to acclimatize as all of them have been cooped at home for the last 4 months. If the government permission comes through in a day or two and if the BCCI starts moving on Monday, July 27, it will have 52 clear days. It can have all the players in Mumbai by July 31 and set the ball rolling. It will be extremely challenging to hold the tournament safely but given the BCCI's expertise in holding mega-events, one thinks IPL 2020 will also be an unqualified success.