Explained: Why IPL Moved to The UAE & How It’s Being Planned

Why is the IPL happening in the UAE and how will it be made possible?

Updated
IPL
4 min read
Why is the IPL happening in the UAE and how will it be made possible?
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Season 13 of the Indian Premier League is back on the cards with the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup both getting postponed due to coronavirus. However, the growing number of cases in India means the BCCI is taking the tournament to foreign shores and much like in 2014, the UAE is the venue the board has closed in on.

The league’s Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed the news on Tuesday saying the board was awaiting permission from the Indian government and would make an official statement after the Governing Council meeting in the coming week.

But, an ‘Indian’ premier league, played entirely overseas?

How will that work? Will it be safe for the cricketers? Why the UAE? Which stadiums?

The Quint tries to answer some of the questions.

Explained: Why IPL Moved to The UAE & How It’s Being Planned

  1. 1. Why The UAE?

    The 13th season of the IPL was slated to run from 29 March to 24 May but was suspended in March when the Indian government announced the nation-wide lockdown. Since then, the BCCI have bided their time as multi-nation tournaments are forced to postpone to 2021, thus opening up an almost 8-week window for the IPL.

    IPL Governing Council Chairman Brijesh Patel has on Friday confirmed that the 19 September to 8 November window is being targeted for the season this time and while the original back-up plan was for the tournament to be played across centres in and around Mumbai, the growing number of cases in the state has forced the BCCI to look overseas. Thus, the UAE, which in 2014 too had hosted one leg of the IPL, of 20 matches, when General Elections were being conducted in India.

    Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Brijesh Patel with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.
    Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Brijesh Patel with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.
    (Photo: BCCI)

    In the UAE, there are three centres which can host games - the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai and the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah. The BCCI is expected to rent all centres as they can also be accessed via bus, thus eliminating the risk of exposure due to air travel. Along with them, the board is also looking at renting the ICC academy ground for training and net sessions.

    Will the matches be played behind closed doors? Brijesh Patel’s reply - "depends on the UAE government".

    Expand
  2. 2. Will It Be Safe?

    In the last week, the UAE has seen their daily new reported coronavirus cases drop to under 300 a day, making it a much safer option than India which is currently the country with the third-highest cases. On 22 July, over 37,000 cases were reported. So, in comparison, the UAE provides a much safer option.

    The country has in fact opened its borders on 7 July for tourism and doesn’t have a compulsory 15-day quarantine period with the rules just requiring anyone entering the country to show a negative COVID test report. This then also makes it easier for teams to hold camps before the start of the reason with most franchises planning to set up base around the last week of August itself. Indian players will need a month-long training camp at least with no matches taking place since March while England and Australia’s players may join right before the start of the season with a limited-overs tour of England reportedly on the cards between 4 and 15 September.

    Expand
  3. 3. Are The Teams on Board With the Move?

    According to IANS, the eight IPL franchises had started preparing for an IPL in the UAE even before Brijesh Patel made the formal announcement on Tuesday. Following the BCCI’s Apex Council meeting on Friday, all teams had been sounded off about the possible move in venue and most have already zeroed in on the hotel they wish to stay at.

    "You need to be smart and plan early. We have been given the required inputs and are planning accordingly. We have actually decided on the hotel we wish to stay at in Abu Dhabi and how exactly we will go through the process of flying in and going through the necessary quarantine period once in UAE. We will obviously need to brush up with the then health guidelines of the country," a franchise official told IANS.

    Another official of a former champion franchise said that they are looking to get an isolation period done in India before heading off to UAE. "We are looking at having the boys come together in India. Go through a period of spending time in a bio-secure environment and then get our tests done and head to UAE," the official explained.

    All teams are looking to book charter planes to take their players to Dubai with no certain date provided by the Indian government yet about international flights reopening.

    Expand
  4. 4. What Are Players Saying?

    With the IPL more and more looking like the first Indian cricket tournament to start post the COVID-lockdowns, Indian – and overseas players – have been talking about the need for the tournament to take place this year, for months.

    Not only are a lot of players’ incomes dependent on the tournament, any cricket, with the proper guidelines followed, would be welcome.

    "Throughout this time there's been a natural lack of content so there is a real drive to see that (IPL) happen and see it happen safely, which is first and foremost... I think a lot of people will be looking forward to that opportunity if at all it goes ahead safely,” said former Sunrises Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson to ESPNcricinfo on the sidelines of a New Zealand training session at Bay Oval.

    Kings XI Punjab’s Glenn Maxwell too has said he has no reason not to travel for the tournament if all things get ticked off.

    "You wait and see (with the IPL), waiting on the judgments of other people, what you can and can't do with travel and quarantine times and all that, if everything gets ticked off there, I have no real reason not to go.

    "The overseas guys get a hell of a kick playing in it, some of the best players in the world rubbing shoulders, similar to a World Cup, but on a smaller scale. If everything gets ticked off I would love to be available for it," said Maxwell.

    Expand

Why The UAE?

The 13th season of the IPL was slated to run from 29 March to 24 May but was suspended in March when the Indian government announced the nation-wide lockdown. Since then, the BCCI have bided their time as multi-nation tournaments are forced to postpone to 2021, thus opening up an almost 8-week window for the IPL.

IPL Governing Council Chairman Brijesh Patel has on Friday confirmed that the 19 September to 8 November window is being targeted for the season this time and while the original back-up plan was for the tournament to be played across centres in and around Mumbai, the growing number of cases in the state has forced the BCCI to look overseas. Thus, the UAE, which in 2014 too had hosted one leg of the IPL, of 20 matches, when General Elections were being conducted in India.

Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Brijesh Patel with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.
Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Brijesh Patel with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.
(Photo: BCCI)

In the UAE, there are three centres which can host games - the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai and the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah. The BCCI is expected to rent all centres as they can also be accessed via bus, thus eliminating the risk of exposure due to air travel. Along with them, the board is also looking at renting the ICC academy ground for training and net sessions.

Will the matches be played behind closed doors? Brijesh Patel’s reply - "depends on the UAE government".

Will It Be Safe?

In the last week, the UAE has seen their daily new reported coronavirus cases drop to under 300 a day, making it a much safer option than India which is currently the country with the third-highest cases. On 22 July, over 37,000 cases were reported. So, in comparison, the UAE provides a much safer option.

The country has in fact opened its borders on 7 July for tourism and doesn’t have a compulsory 15-day quarantine period with the rules just requiring anyone entering the country to show a negative COVID test report. This then also makes it easier for teams to hold camps before the start of the reason with most franchises planning to set up base around the last week of August itself. Indian players will need a month-long training camp at least with no matches taking place since March while England and Australia’s players may join right before the start of the season with a limited-overs tour of England reportedly on the cards between 4 and 15 September.

Are The Teams on Board With the Move?

According to IANS, the eight IPL franchises had started preparing for an IPL in the UAE even before Brijesh Patel made the formal announcement on Tuesday. Following the BCCI’s Apex Council meeting on Friday, all teams had been sounded off about the possible move in venue and most have already zeroed in on the hotel they wish to stay at.

"You need to be smart and plan early. We have been given the required inputs and are planning accordingly. We have actually decided on the hotel we wish to stay at in Abu Dhabi and how exactly we will go through the process of flying in and going through the necessary quarantine period once in UAE. We will obviously need to brush up with the then health guidelines of the country," a franchise official told IANS.

Another official of a former champion franchise said that they are looking to get an isolation period done in India before heading off to UAE. "We are looking at having the boys come together in India. Go through a period of spending time in a bio-secure environment and then get our tests done and head to UAE," the official explained.

All teams are looking to book charter planes to take their players to Dubai with no certain date provided by the Indian government yet about international flights reopening.

What Are Players Saying?

With the IPL more and more looking like the first Indian cricket tournament to start post the COVID-lockdowns, Indian – and overseas players – have been talking about the need for the tournament to take place this year, for months.

Not only are a lot of players’ incomes dependent on the tournament, any cricket, with the proper guidelines followed, would be welcome.

"Throughout this time there's been a natural lack of content so there is a real drive to see that (IPL) happen and see it happen safely, which is first and foremost... I think a lot of people will be looking forward to that opportunity if at all it goes ahead safely,” said former Sunrises Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson to ESPNcricinfo on the sidelines of a New Zealand training session at Bay Oval.

Kings XI Punjab’s Glenn Maxwell too has said he has no reason not to travel for the tournament if all things get ticked off.

"You wait and see (with the IPL), waiting on the judgments of other people, what you can and can't do with travel and quarantine times and all that, if everything gets ticked off there, I have no real reason not to go.

"The overseas guys get a hell of a kick playing in it, some of the best players in the world rubbing shoulders, similar to a World Cup, but on a smaller scale. If everything gets ticked off I would love to be available for it," said Maxwell.

(With inputs from IANS)

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