New Zealand has become the latest country after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sri Lanka which has offered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to host the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) later this year during the October-November window.
The IPL 2020, which was scheduled to be played from March 29 this year, was earlier postponed to April 15 before it was suspended indefinitely due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“We will sit down with all stakeholders (broadcaster, teams, etc) and take a call. The safety of the players is paramount. There will be no compromise on that,” the official said.
However, it is being widely believed that the UAE and Sri Lanka remain the frontrunners to stage the cash-rich tournament. The PTI report suggests that UAE is the most favourite option because of its experience of hosting a phase of IPL in 2014.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, is being looked as a cost-effective option, while New Zealand presents feasibility issues because of its seven-hour time difference with India. There are also likely to be logistical issues with the venues as travel to and from most of them will require air travel.
Earlier, news agency IANS had reflected that the BCCI was divided on whether to host the IPL outside the country but it was clear that if the board manages to agree on staging it one foreign soil then either Sri Lanka or the UAE would be the most favorable destination.
However, all the speculations are currently hanging by a thread as the ICC has not made any decision regarding the fate of the T20 World Cup which is supposed to be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15 which is almost the same time the BCCI is planning to stage the IPL.
The last ICC Board meeting in June had kept the fate of this year’s T20 World Cup hanging as they dragged the matter until the next meeting in July. However, media reports across the globe have hinted that the tournament is most likely to be postponed.