Plans for England to step-in as a host for the postponed Indian Premier League (IPL) have been initiated by a small group of counties, according to reports.
The Twenty20 cricket competition was suspended on May 4 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be desperate to get its flagship event back up and running to protect its all-important revenues.
It is thought that initial contact has been made with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), suggesting the likes of Lord’s, The Kia Oval, Emirates Old Trafford and Edgbaston as possible venues for the 31 remaining fixtures.
A spokesperson told PA: “We speak to the BCCI regularly about tours and other matters and we’ll continue doing so, but we have received no indication that they are looking for alternative hosts for the IPL at the moment.”
The current course of events in England suggests that by mid-September – when India’s Test series against England is due to finish – fans could be back at sporting events in their droves.
That may prove an appealing prospect to organisers, who had to stage the 2020 edition behind closed doors in the United Arab Emirates and would not anticipate big ticket sales if the venue was used for a second time.
Furthermore, the UAE could be needed to host the Twenty20 World Cup in October should India also be forced to relinquish that tournament and overuse of pitches may be a cause for concern.
It is believed the matches could be wrapped up in little over a fortnight if a model of two games a day and three on weekends was adopted, with a 3pm UK start time seen as ideal for the primetime Indian broadcast market.
Lord’s would appear to be the most attractive option for the IPL final, though the Bob Willis Trophy final is currently scheduled to take place at the venue between September 27 and October 1.
Author: Jake Wilkin