The IPL Governing Council will meet on August 1 to finalise the schedule and other key arrangements necessary for the tournament to be conducted in the UAE. Recently the IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel announced the tournament would be played in the UAE between September 19 and November 10.
It is understood that the Governing Council is likely to discuss the dates, venues, training facilities, the quarantine measures along with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that would be necessary for the event which comprises eight teams to play 60 matches over 50 days.
Earlier on Monday, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) said that it had received a letter of intent from the BCCI to conduct the IPL in the UAE. That letter is understood to be signed by IPL's chief operating officer Hemang Amin, who also is doubling up as the BCCI's interim chief executive officer.
The ECB said it was looking forward to hosting the IPL, but a "final deal" would be inked after the Indian government had given BCCI the permission to shift the tournament to the UAE.
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is hopeful of getting the government's clearance to fill 30-50 % of the stadiums with spectators for IPL 2020, which is scheduled to be held in the country from September 19 to November 10.
"We will definitely want our people to experience this prestigious event but it is totally the government's decision," UAE board secretary Mubashshir Usmani told PTI. "For most events here, the number ranges from 30 to 50% capacity, we are looking at a similar number. We are hopeful of getting our government's approval on that."
Currently, the UAE has just over 6200 active cases of Covid-19, and Usmani believed that it would reduce further by the time the IPL gets underway.
"The UAE government has been very efficient in bringing down the case numbers," he said. We are almost living a normal life with certain rules and protocols to be followed. And with the IPL still some time way, we will be in an even better place than what it is right now."
The UAE board has received an official letter of intent from the BCCI for hosting IPL 2020, and is now waiting for the formal nod from the Indian government to "ink the final deal" with the BCCI. The protocols for the tournament in the UAE are expected to be finalised during the IPL governing council's meeting on August 2.
But would the UAE board be able to manage the training sessions of eight franchises?
"UAE is blessed with the support of private infrastructure," Usmani said. "We are able to deliver such events and have delivered before. Last year, we hosted the T20 World Cup qualifier which had 14 teams."
It's not a completely new experience for the ECB, as the first 20 games of the 2014 IPL were held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of the Indian general elections.
"Last time also, it contributed significantly to the UAE economy," Usmani said. "With the full tournament taking place this time, it will be a much bigger boost."
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are aiming to set up camp in the UAE from early August to give themselves at least a month to train before the IPL begins from September 19. ESPNcricinfo understands that players have been asked to report to Chennai first, following which they will leave for Dubai via a charter flight. This is, of course, subject to approvals from the Indian government.
Last week, the IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel had confirmed that the tournament was scheduled to begin on September 19, with the final penciled in for either November 8 or November 10, and said the clearance of the government "will come". The governing council is scheduled to meet on Sunday, August 2, to make decisions on the many logistical challenges that airlifting the tournament to the UAE will pose. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) around securing eight teams for 51 days across three venues will be formally established in that meeting.
For the franchises themselves, one of the issues will be player fitness given that the majority on their IPL rosters will not have played any cricket in recent months. Some franchises have reportedly asked for permission to land on August 20 and 21. For CSK, who have the oldest squad in the league on average, the challenge is all the more significant. MS Dhoni, their captain, for example, hasn't played a competitive fixture since the 2019 World Cup.
In the pre-lockdown world as well, CSK were the first team to begin their training camp in March. Senior players like Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu, in fact, had begun training as early as December 2019 to get in shape for the tournament that was originally scheduled to begin on March 29.
The IPL will comprise 60 matches and will be played over 51 days (in case the final is on November 8). In the original schedule prepared in March for this year, the tournament days stretched to 50 to keep the double-headers minimal, a request of the franchises who did not want players to suffer during the peak Indian summer. It is likely the double-headers will remain minimal even in the UAE.
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