The increasingly likely postponement of the T20 World Cup could be good news for fans of the India Premier League — as long as they don’t mind watching matches take place somewhere other than India.
As India.com reported, the announcement from Cricket Australia that the prospect of the T20 World Cup taking place this year was “unrealistic” gave new hope to the IPL being played in 2020. The league, like most major sports leagues across the globe, has been put on an indefinite hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, and officials said they would need to wait for the T20 World Cup to be scheduled before starting to make plans for a season.
The report noted that there is a window for the IPL season to take place from September to November, but the exact location remains up in the air. Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia said this week that it would not be easy to organize the IPL, noting that it would need to take place somewhere with adequate infrastructure both on and off the field.
There have already been offers from UAE and interest from Sri Lanka at hosting the IPL season. Wadia noted that the IPL has been able to shift out of India in the past with little problem.
“IPL has also been a very forward looking and flexible tournament and that has to be maintained during the COVID situation. Going back to 2009, within one month we switched from India to South Africa,” he said, adding that the location for the IPL would need an adequate number of hotels so that players could be quarantined if needed.
Other major sports leagues have been grappling with the same problem. The prospect of traveling across cities has grown more difficult with the coronavirus and its disproportionate impact across the globe, so other leagues have turned to the idea of playing in a central location. In the United States, the NBA has made plans to return with all teams playing in Orlando, Florida. Others, including the NFL, are planning to go forward with a traditional season that would see teams playing in their home stadiums, though likely without fans.
As NPR reported, India has seen a recent wave of coronavirus cases but has held back on instituting a new round of lockdowns.
There is no clear picture yet when the IPL could take place, though a formal postponement of the T20 World Cup would likely allow league officials to start making plans for when and where it could happen.