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Overseas IPL on BCCI radar

New Zealand on Monday became the latest country after the UAE and Sri Lanka to present an offer to host the tournament
Sourav Ganguly

Indranil Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 07.07.20, 02:26 AM

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) mandarins are slowly veering round to the prospect of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) being shifted overseas given the deteriorating pandemic situation in the country.

New Zealand on Monday became the latest country after the UAE and Sri Lanka to present an offer to host the IPL. The BCCI is awaiting a formal announcement from the International Cricket Council on the postponement of the World T20 in Australia before making a final decision.

A formal announcement is expected after the ICC comes out with its decision.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the BCCI has zeroed in on the UAE as their preferred venue because of the improved infrastructure, logistics and access to three stadiums — Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — within a short distance.

The players generally prefer to stay in Dubai since Sharjah is only a 30-minute drive from there while Abu Dhabi takes one-and-a-half hours.

The matches will be held behind closed doors.

The fact that the UAE has previously hosted the tournament, in 2014, is also working to its advantage.

“We don’t know how the situation will be in late September or early October. But we can’t go ahead thinking that it will improve. We’ve to plan in advance and that has prompted us to think about shifting it outside the country,” a source told this newspaper.

Sri Lanka too has three world-class venues in Colombo — R. Premadasa Stadium, P. Sara Oval and Sinhalese Sports Club ground.

It was learnt that all franchises are not comfortable playing in Sri Lanka while New Zealand has been ruled out because of the time difference. However, the 14-day quarantine period in the UAE is proving to be an impediment. Sri Lanka, in comparison, has lesser number of quarantine days for those who test negative on arrival.

“There is still enough time in hand... May be the UAE will also relax their quarantine period by the time the tournament approaches,” the source said.

Last week, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, responding to a question on the Covid-19 situation during a chat with opener Mayank Agarwal, said: “I think the next two-three-four months will be a little tough. We will just have to bear it, and by the end of the year or beginning of next year, life should be back to normal.”

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