The 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) will be played between September 19 and November 10 in the UAE. Brijesh Patel the IPL Governing Council chairman, said that the final could be played on November 8 or 10, with a definitive decision expected soon.
Even as the BCCI has set the ball rolling for relocating the IPL to the UAE, it still needs the nod of the Indian government. Earlier this week Patel had said that the permission “will come” and had confirmed Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be the three main venues for the tournament.
Patel said the tournament dates had been “circulated” among the IPL Governing Council members but he did not confirm whether there is a Governing Council meeting scheduled which was speculated to take place this weekend. He further said that key points including the schedule along with the contours of what a biosecure bubble would comprise would be finalised and communicated to the franchises soon. It is understood the franchises were informed only about the tournament dates on Thursday and were told further details would emerge soon.
One key advantage of having a tournament in the UAE is the quarantine period is less relaxed. Currently, anyone traveling into the UAE needs to test negative before flying in, and also has to take a test upon landing. If both those tests are negative there is no quarantine required. But if a person lands without having done a test prior to flying in, then a quarantine period is mandatory.
The IPL will comprise 60 matches and will be played over 51 days (in case 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.
It remains to be seen whether the IPL will stick to evening matches commencing at 8 pm IST despite reservations from host broadcaster Star Sports, which was skeptical about games stretching past midnight. It is likely that the IPL will reconsider advancing the start time to 7.30 pm IST.
With the final on November 8 or 10, the Indian players will also have enough time to quarantine for two weeks in Australia for the Test series scheduled to start on December 3 in Brisbane.