One of the biggest domestic T20 tournaments, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to begin from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Originally, it was scheduled to commence from March 29 early this year, but due to a coronavirus outbreak, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was forced to postpone the 13th edition for an indefinite period.
However, after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the cancellation of T20 World Cup, BCCI got the desired window to organise IPL 2020. But because of the significant spread of COVID-19 cases in India, the apex Indian board shifted the lucrative league to UAE.
Now, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is looking forward to fill 30-50 percent of the stadiums with spectators when the IPL takes place in UAE. Although, the board is waiting for the clearance from the government.
“Once we get confirmation from BCCI (on the approval of Government of India), we will go to our government with the full proposal and sop which will be prepared by us and BCCI,” ECB secretary Mubashshir Usmani told PTI.
“We certainly want our people to experience this prestigious event, but it is entirely the government’s decision. For most events here, the number ranges from thirty to 50 per cent capacity; we are looking at a similar number. We hope we hope to get our government’s approval on that,” he added.
When it comes to the coronavirus situation in the UAE, there are more than 6000 active cases, but the overall situation is under control.
“The UAE government has been very skilled at bringing down the number of cases. We are living a normal life with almost certain rules and protocols to follow. And with IPL still some time way, we’ll be in an even better place than what it is right now,” Usmani added further.
Usmani further said that UAE is ready to host IPL and is only awaiting for the approval from the Indian government.
“We are still waiting to hear from BCCI on the approval of the Indian government. We are ready to say that. “We have the plug-and-play facility here and have informed them (officials at the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah stadiums) to be ready, and they are fully aware of it,” articulated Usmani.
Usmani also pointed out the superior level of infrastructure in the UAE. He said that managing the eight-team training program would not be a challenge.
“The UAE have been blessed with the support of private infrastructure. We have been able to deliver such events and have delivered before. Last year, we hosted a T20 World Cup qualifier with 14 teams,” concluded Usmani.