Due to the continuous rise in the coronavirus cases in India, the BCCI is looking at hosting IPL overseas as an option said a BCCI Official. New Zealand is the latest country after UAE & Sri Lanka which has offered to host the IPL in case the cash-rich league can’t be held in India due to the rising cases of coronavirus.
The postponement announcement of the T20 World Cup to be held in October-November window in Australia is imminent which creates a window for the IPL. The BCCI has already almost fixed at the end of September & early November window for the IPL. The board’s first choice is commencing the tournament at home i.e India but that is looking almost impossible to host the IPL in India as India is the third-largest country worst hit by coronavirus behind Brazil & USA.
“Staging the event in India has to be the first choice but in case it is not safe to have it, then we will look at the overseas options. After UAE and Sri Lanka, New Zealand has also offered to host the IPL,” a senior BCCI official told media.
“We will sit discuss with our partners & then take a decision. The safety of the players is our priority. There will be no compromise on that,” the official said.
The IPL has been held overseas in the past. The entire 2009 edition of the IPL was commenced in South Africa due to the elections being held in India & in the UAE in 2014 due to the same reason.
However in 2019, despite elections, the BCCI managed to schedule the IPL in India avoiding clashing with poll dates in various states.
For this year’s IPL the UAE is the front runner up to host the tournament if it happens overseas. Sri Lanka is also a cost-effective option while New Zealand which is free from COVID-19 havoc has certain feasibility issues.
There are timing issues coming if the IPL is to be conducted in New Zealand. India has a seven & half-hour time difference & even if the game starts at 12.30 pm in the afternoon, maximum office goers even those who work from home will miss the action. Further apart from Hamilton and Auckland, which can be covered by road, places like Wellington, Christchurch, Napier, or Dunedin will require air travel.
The Official added that the date of the IPL 2020 will be decided by the IPL Governing Council Meeting will be announced soon & issues in the league including Chinese Sponsorships deals in the IPL will be discussed.
The BCCI had called for an IPL Governing Council meet more than two weeks ago following the India-China clash at the Galwan Valley but the date is yet to be announced. The board has a lucrative five deal in place for the IPL title rights with Chinese mobile phone maker Vivo which fetches the board with Rs 440 crore annually till 2022. Indian Companies with Chinese investments such as PayTm are also involved in the IPL Sponsorship.