The 2020 edition of the IPL will be played in the UAE, Brijesh Patel, the IPL Governing Council chairman, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo today. Patel said that a formal announcement on the matter would be made when the body meets next.
Patel did not confirm the dates for the tournament, but as reported recently, the BCCI has penciled in the window between September 26 and November 7 for the IPL, which comprises 60 matches. Patel said that the BCCI had been waiting for the ICC to formally postpone the men's T20 World Cup this year, which has happened now, and freed up a window for the tournament.
"We were waiting for the ICC to officially announce [the postponement]," Patel said. "We have applied [for permission] with the Indian government. Should get it."
Patel said Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah would be the three main venues. Asked about whether the tournament would be played behind closed doors, Patel said that "depends on the UAE government". It is understood that the franchises are yet to be formally informed about the tournament being shifted out of India.
In April, the BCCI had postponed the IPL indefinitely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the BCCI had intended to host the IPL in India, the pandemic's spread has over the last few months has made that unfeasible. With officially more than a million Covid-19 infections confirmed, India ranks third on the list of active cases worldwide.
When the plan was to host the tournament in India, the BCCI wanted to conduct it behind closed doors in limited venues and had singled out Mumbai as the hub, but India's commercial capital has a huge number of Covid-19 infections, putting paid to those thoughts.
This would be the second time for the IPL in the UAE, after the first 20 matches of the tournament were staged in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in 2014 because of the general elections in India. The franchises are likely to set up their bases a month in advance if and when the green light is given - for training and also to abide by any quarantine measures imposed by the UAE government.
It is understood that the main reason for marking November 7 as the date for the IPL final was to ensure Indian players get enough time to travel to Australia for the four-match Test series, set to begin in December.