While the final decision will be made within a month, it is understood that even the Indian Cricket Board is feeling upset about holding the 16-team tournament in October and November after the ongoing IPL was suspended due to multiple COVID-19 cases inside the vital bubble.
PTI has learned that Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials have recently held discussions with some senior decision makers in the central government and it has been agreed to move to the UAE in one form or another. The competition dates planned for nine venues have yet to be completed.
“The IPL’s suspension in four weeks is an indication that it is not really safe to host a global event of this magnitude at a time when the country is grappling with its worst health crisis in the past 70 years,” said a senior source in the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry familiar with the development. On conditions of anonymity.
He added, “There is an opportunity for a third wave to hit the Indian shores in November. So, while the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry will remain the host, it is possible that the tournament will move to the United Arab Emirates.”
Health experts warned of a third wave in India in September, an opinion shared by Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Top.
The dire situation in India, where more than 3 new cases continued to be added daily over the past several days, has shaken most board members and the ICC is unlikely to risk the safety of international cricket teams.
“You can rest assured that most of the major countries will not want to tour India for the next six months unless the situation returns to normal. Players and their families will be very careful to travel if they are in the middle of another wave.”
“So he expected that the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry will agree to transfer the championship to the UAE,” another source also said.
He said the IPL’s suspension after a series of positive issues had made officials too nervous to take any further risks.
“The IPL in India has been a platform to demonstrate to the world as well as to the participating nations that it is safe to host a tournament even when the second wave reaches its climax.
“It was going well, but the bio-bubble is now porous. What is the guarantee that it will not happen again in October and November. It is almost certain that countries like Australia, England and New Zealand have travel warnings,” he said.
One of the biggest reasons the tournament is held in the UAE is that it can be kept in three venues – Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi – and there is no air travel.
The source said: “Look at six places for IPL it was always a dangerous proposition when it hit the ground running with three during its latest release.”
“In the UAE, they were all in one bubble from start to finish while each team traveled to three bubbles. Most of the positive cases emerged after the bubble flight.
“So even if I reduce the number of stadiums from 9 to 5 in October, there is still air travel in contrast to the United Arab Emirates. And for the players as well, they will not mentally be in a space to play in India unless the situation improves dramatically,” he added.
There is an ICC meeting in June where a final decision will be made but retaining the championship in India after the IPL cancellation seems out of reach at this point.