After Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), New Zealand is the latest country who have offered their proposal of hosting the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
It was only recently when the New Zealand Prime Minister announced that their country is free of any active cases of COVID-19. New Zealand also became one of the fastest countries to lift their lockdown restrictions nationally.
However, the fate of IPL 2020 lies hanging due to the onset of rising cases of COVID-19 in India, post lockdown. India is now ranked third worldwide, only behind USA and Brazil, in the tally of the number of active COVID-19 cases.
Further, the pandemic has disrupted the scheduling of the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia. With the imminent cancellation of the tournament, a window in October and November for IPL 2020 would be opened up, with the availability of the internationals.
“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. UAE, Sri Lanka and New Zealand have 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,” added the official.
It would not be the first time that IPL Governing Council (GC) pondered the decision to export the cash-rich league abroad.
The 2009 edition of the IPL was hosted by South Africa, while one half of the 2014 season was hosted in UAE. Both the tournaments were shifted outside India due to the then-ongoing National Elections, which hampered the scheduling.
The official also went on to reveal that an official date of the next IPL GC meeting would be announced shortly.
Regardless, the most likely scenario currently is the tournament being shifted to UAE. Moreover, moving the competition to Sri Lanka would be a cost-effective decision.
If there is a cancellation of the 2020 IPL season, BCCI will have to face a massive loss of INR 4,000 crores.
Furthermore, the COVID-free environment of New Zealand would suit the timing of Indian viewers.