BCCI wants Indian T20 Legaue in UAE from September
The Indian T20 League, the world's richest cricket tournament, will be held in the United Arab Emirates from September if India's government gives approval, the competition chairman told AFP on Tuesday.
The postponement of the Twenty20 World Cup until 2021 because of the global pandemic has paved the way for the suspended Indian T20 League to go ahead after multiple delays.
The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India now wants to hold the tournament, which draws top cricket stars from around the world, from September until early November.
"It will be held in the UAE but first, the board will seek permission from the Indian government to stage it there," chairman Brijesh Patel said.
He added that the exact dates would be decided by the tournament's governing council in a meeting next week. "But we are looking at September-October and a bit of November for the event to take place."
Media reports have said the competition would run from September 26 to November 7. Patel would not say whether the games would be played behind closed doors. A final decision would rest with the UAE and Indian authorities.
The T20 competition is the BCCI's main revenue earner. It has said it would lose more than $500 million if this year's tournament had not gone ahead. The seven-week extravaganza, which normally plays to packed stadiums across the country of 1.3 billion people, is estimated to generate more than $11 billion for the Indian economy.
The BCCI had to wait until the International Cricket Council formally postponed the World Cup on Monday before announcing its new plan.
The Indian T20 League has been held outside India twice before, in years that it clashed with national elections. South Africa hosted the 2009 event and part of it was held in the UAE in 2014.
The 13th edition should have started on March 29 but it has been repeatedly postponed because of a nationwide lockdown enforced over the global virus. A host of international stars including England's Ben Stokes and Australia's Steve Smith and David Warner are signed up for the eight teams.
Australia's Pat Cummins will be the most expensive overseas star this year, with Kolkata agreeing to a $2.17 million fee for him in a December auction.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam