IPL 2020: BCCI mulling dividing the T20 league into two legs

The BCCI may conduct the first leg in Dubai and Sharjah.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli checks MS Dhoni’s thumb. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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The 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to start on September 19, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to release the schedule for the T20 tournament. The reason is that Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have separate protocols regarding the massive coronavirus outbreak that has rocked the entire world in the last few months.

Before entering Abu Dhabi, one has to undergo mandatory COVID-19 rapid tests. Only after the tests come negative, one can afford to cross the border. Bearing in mind the strict rules and regulations in the pandemic situation, the world’s largest cricket board is yet to declare the schedule. It will also be tough for the eight teams to follow the procedures on a match-day.

No travel restrictions between Dubai and Sharjah

In the meantime, as per reports in InsideSport, the BCCI is contemplating, diving the T20 tournament into two legs. The board, reportedly, is in talks with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) regarding the same. It’s been thought about to minimise the travelling of the cricketers. At the present point in time, there are no restrictions of travel from Sharjah to Dubai.

Hence, the BCCI may conduct the first leg in Dubai and Sharjah after which a few matches can be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, which is 130 kms away from Dubai. A decision surrounding the matter is expected in the next 48 hours as Brijesh Patel, the IPL Governing Council chairman, and Hemang Amin are due to meet officials from the UAE government.

Out of total 56 Group Games in IPL 2020 – 21 will be played in Dubai – 21 in Abu Dhabi – 14 in Sharjah.

Recently, the coronavirus cases in the UAE have seen a spike and it has put BCCI in a fix. At the present point in time, Kolkata Knight Riders and the Mumbai Indians are based in Abu Dhabi. In case, the first leg gets shifted to Dubai and Sharjah, then MI and KKR will have to change base.

For the time being, its expected that the BCCI will release the IPL schedule before the end of this week. The hot and humid conditions in the UAE have also made things arduous for the Indian board. The wind remains warm even after the sun sets around 7:30 PM in the evening.