File image of IPL trophy.(IPL)
File image of IPL trophy.(IPL)

IPL 2020 to be held from September 19 to November 10

IPL 2020: The 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin from September 19th and the final will be played on November 10 in the UAE (subject to govt approval). The decision was taken in an IPL GC meeting on Sunday.
By Rasesh Mandani | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 02, 2020 11:36 PM IST

The sports ministry has given permission for staging the postponed Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates and the union home ministry’s final clearance will come soon, it was announced in the IPL Governing Council meeting here on Sunday. It paves the way for the tournament planned from September 19 to November 10 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. (Full coverage of IPL 2020)

“While everyone wanted the IPL to be held in India, and we explored home-IPL creating a bio-secure bubble, it wasn’t considered safe,” a BCCI official said. A plan was drawn up to stage IPL at three-four venues in Mumbai-Pune and in three venues in Gujarat—Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Vadodara. The proposal was sent to the government, but given the health crisis in India due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not accepted.

LONGER IPL

This year, IPL will be staged four days beyond the usual 49-day window. BCCI constitution does not allow that, but it will write to the Supreme Court to make allowance this time. “The longer window is to avoid the number of double headers with the harsh weather conditions in UAE during afternoons. We will now have only 10 double headers,” the official said.

The night matches will begin at 6pm local time (7.30pm IST) to suit the needs of the broadcasters. BCCI had resisted advancing the timings as franchises preferred an 8pm start for better ticket sales. “This time the question of local spectators does not arise. The change will help the broadcasters with better ad sales as the matches otherwise get too late,” the official said.

CROWDS

At the moment, BCCI is looking to start the tournament as a closed-door event. But if the UAE government permits, a collective decision will be taken on whether to permit spectators, and how many.

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is hopeful spectators will be allowed. “As hosts, Emirates Cricket Board will work closely with the UAE government to seek approval on what protocols need to be followed; this includes fan attendance at all stadia. We want our Asian diaspora as well as the other expat and Emirati sports-loving fans (in the UAE) to be able to watch the action from the stands,” ECB secretary general, Mubashshir Usmani, said.

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SPONSORSHIPS

There were no discussions to review Chinese sponsorships. It was decided that Vivo will remain the title sponsors of IPL. Its R2199 crore deal will stay intact as there were no discussions on the subject. The board is on the lookout for an associate partner as the deal with FBB—one of three associate sponsors—has ended. Talks are on with FBB and local sponsors in the UAE to see who can come on board.

The franchises will soon be informed about Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed in the UAE. The squad strength has been limited to 24 players each, and Covid-19 substitutes will be allowed. There was no discussion on compensating franchises for any loss over gate receipts or sponsorships. Some teams are better placed than others. “So far, so good; all our sponsors are with us. We are waiting for the official announcement from BCCI after which we can make our plans for training camps,” Chennai Super Kings CEO, KS Viswanathan, said.

“The SOPs will be finalised and published in due course, including the agencies to execute and deliver a bio-secure environment for safe and successful conduct of IPL,” a BCCI statement said. A meeting with the franchises will be held soon.

WOMEN’S T20s

India’s women cricketers will not miss out on a T20 Challenger this year, which is tentatively scheduled from November 1-10 in the UAE, the final fortnight of IPL 13. BCCI also plans to hold a training camp in October for its players, all currently confined to their homes due to the lockdown. If the health situation and government permission allow, the possibilities of holding a limited-overs series with South Africa in October will be explored.

The T20 Challenger, expected to be converted into a women’s IPL in time, could see limited international participation as it clashes with the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia. It will only be a three-team event this year, with four matches to be played, including the final.

WBBL is now the world’s leading women’s T20 competition (Oct 17-Nov 29). Most Australian players will thus miss out on the T20 Challenger in the UAE, although the four Indian players approached to participate in WBBL will feature in the ‘home’ event. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shefali Varma and all-rounder Deepti Sharma were known to be the reckoning for WBBL.

Alyssa Healy, Australia’s wicketkeeper, reacted sharply in a tweet. “So the Indian players who’ve already signed WBBL contracts will do what? And all the international marquee players that will be in Australia for WBBL? Good luck with it.”

“The IPL doesn’t need the marquee players. It’s already large. The women’s format however does. The WBBL and BBL don’t run simultaneously so why does the IPL and WIPL have to?” asked Healy.

Another Australian cricketer Rachel Haynes tweeted: “While the game continues to grow, premier domestic competitions do not need to compete against each other. They can be used to showcase the game and support its development around the world,” she tweeted.

India ODI captain Mithali Raj, ex-seamer Jhulan Goswami and leggie Poonam Yadav—none of whom were in running for WBBL contracts—welcomed the decision to stage the T20 Challenger.

“BCCI is gradually building towards having a full-fledged women’s IPL in a few years with the franchise module. This is an IPL challenger of sorts. At this juncture it’s important the building process is not halted thus it’s a good move to have it alongside the men’s,” Raj said in a tweet.

IPL will go to the UAE for the second time, after the first half of the 2014 edition was held there as the tournament clashed with India’s general elections.

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