Aakash Chopra suggests UAE as the best possible alternative if IPL cannot be staged in India
- Aakash Chopra believes that playing the IPL in India would not be a realistic option.
- He gave three alternate venues where the IPL could be staged if it cannot take place in India.
Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra believes that the UAE is the best alternative venue if the Indian Premier League (IPL) cannot be played in India. He also named Sri Lanka and New Zealand as other optional venues for the prestigious league.
While sharing his opinion on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra almost ruled out the possibility of staging the IPL in India, due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
"India is the ideal venue to host the IPL but is it a possibility? We are almost touching 6 lakh cases and adding almost 125 thousand cases every week. And at the pace we are going, we are not looking like stopping soon. At this rate in another 12 weeks or so, we might end up with around 25 lakh cases. In this scenario it is not possible to host the IPL in India."
He added that the staging of the IPL would be dependent on two factors - the ICC deciding that the T20 World Cup cannot be played this year and the IPL governing council arriving at a window to stage the cash-rich league.
"First of all, the ICC has to decide that they cannot hold the T20 World Cup. Then the IPL governing council has to come up with a window when they can stage the IPL. So, may be it is end of September and the whole of October, while also giving the 14-day quarantine period in November for the Indian team's tour to Australia."
Assuming that the above two conditions are met, Aakash Chopra reiterated that staging the IPL in India would not be practically possible.
"India is not a viable option, medical facilities are already overburdened. You can't find a city where you have 3 to 4 grounds where the matches can be staged. Mumbai was one such place, but that option is no longer available."
Aakash Chopra's alternate options to stage the IPL
Aakash Chopra suggested Sri Lanka as the first possible alternative to stage the IPL, with the nation being almost COVID-free and the proximity to India likely to not hurt the franchises financially.
"But let us consider our neighbours Sri Lanka. They have fought Covid beautifully. The island is almost COVID-free. Their economy needs a shot in the arm and they would want it to happen there. Sri Lanka is not too far, which is a good thing. It will not hurt the franchises financially as well."
He also highlighted that the presence of three grounds in Colombo itself makes Sri Lanka an even more attractive option.
"They have 3 grounds in Colombo itself, as you need at least 3 grounds to host a tournament of the magnitude of the IPL. In Colombo we have the Premadasa Stadium, P Sara Stadium and the SSC. The crowd capacity might be less in the latter two venues, but will that matter as we might anyway be playing behind closed doors."
But on the flip side, Aakash Chopra talked about the possibility of most of the matches getting washed out, with September-October being the peak rainy season in Sri Lanka.
"But the big problem is the rainy season in September-October in Sri Lanka. It is the time of the retreating monsoon and there in no tournament played in Sri Lanka in September-October. So lot of matches could get rained off. So, I don't see weather-wise Sri Lanka a viable option."
Aakash Chopra suggested UAE as the second alternate option to stage the IPL, while stating that the bad state of the economy due to the plummeting oil prices and tourism would make them eager to stage the tournament.
"Second option is UAE. It is also quite near. They have not fought Covid as well as Sri Lanka. But the economy has been opened now. With oil prices and tourism having gone down, the UAE economy is not in a very good state. So, they would also want the IPL to be staged there and will put out a red carpet."
The renowned commentator opined that the presence of three grounds in UAE as well makes it a very good option.
"They also have 3 grounds, one each in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. All of them have a decent capacity as well. It has a larger Indian diaspora and we can expect more crowd if the gates are opened. You don't have a huge financial burden here as well for the franchise and BCCI."
Aakash Chopra gave New Zealand as the third option while stating that it is a remote possibility due to the difference in timings.
"New Zealand is like a far-fetched option. Although it is a Covid-free nation, but it is too far. The matches will have to be played late at night. If that doesn't happen, forget the Indian prime time, you won't be able to catch even the day-time audience."
He almost ruled out the possibility of staging the IPL in New Zealand, as the timings are not audience-friendly and it being a bigger financial burden for the franchises.
"With a 7.5 hours difference, you cannot catch the prime time audience for sure. So, logistically it becomes a bit of a nightmare. Its less profitable, more expensive and timing is not suitable."
Aakash Chopra concluded that UAE seemed to be the best possible option among the three venues he had suggested.
"These are the 3 options, in which I feel that UAE is winning the race among these three options."
Published 30 Jun 2020, 12:29 IST