he postponed edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be held in the UAE will begin on September 19, with the final to be played on November 8. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed the schedule on Friday, although the Indian board is still awaiting a green signal from the government for taking IPL out of India.
“We have written to the Indian government. We are expecting a reply soon. Once it comes in, an IPL governing council meeting will be called next week to finalise all the other details.”
This means after the postponement of the T20 World Cup in Australia, BCCI has chalked out a 51-day window for IPL, the same as last year, ruling out more double-headers. Having two matches on the same day has become a bone of contention with the broadcasters, who are not able to leverage the afternoon matches the same way as the late evening fixtures. Even when the double-headers are scheduled, they are reserved for weekends. The same formula will be applied when the schedule is finally given shape.
When the governing council meets next week, it will have other decisions to take, whether the home and away format can be retained this year or not. There are three venues in the UAE–Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai–where matches can be staged. Dubai itself has two grounds; apart from the main stadium, there is also the ICC academy ground where T20 internationals of Associate Nations have been staged. Also, the modalities of expenditure, how much would be borne by the franchises and by the board will have to be finalised. “All these issues will be decided by the governing council,” Patel said.
The meeting will also decide if IPL-13 can have limited crowds, now that the coronavirus health situation is a lot better there. “We will seek the advice of the UAE government, if we can have any crowds,” he said.
It is expected that with every team needing at least a month to train, the franchises will be leaving base by August 20, which gives them exactly four-weeks to prepare.