The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all but ready to shift to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also considering holding a few international matches in the Middle East before the T20 tournament.
The BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are in talks to organize a three-match T20I series in UAE. However, these games are not part of the original Future Tours Program (FTP) of the International Cricket Council (ICC). India and South Africa were involved in a three-match T20 series in March this year but the series had to end prematurely due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in India and across the world.
The BCCI had been looking at a September 26 to November 8 window for the IPL 2020, but according to a Mumbai Mirror report the host broadcasters STAR aren't very happy to forego the Diwali (November 14) weekend.
The BCCI could organise as series against South Africa before the IPL
The BCCI as a result are working on options to discuss with STAR, one of which is to hold a series against South Africa. The board is also looking at beginning the IPL on September 19 instead of September 26 to reduce evening matches, in line with STAR's wishes.
However, the Mumbai Mirror report added that the IPL franchises might not be pleased about releasing their Indian players, so close to the tournament. IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel said that the matter would be discussed soon.
“We will discuss everything at the GC (Governing Council) meeting,” Brijesh Patel was quoted as saying by the Mumbai Mirror.
A Times of India report added that the three-match series between India and South Africa will be a 'catalyst' for STAR, who are eyeing Cricket South Africa's (CSA) home broadcasting rights as well.
In May, reports had emerged that India and South Africa were planning to play three T20Is in South Africa depending on the COVID-19 situation.
On Tuesday, Brijesh Patel, the IPL governing council chairman, confirmed that the 13th edition of the tournament will be held in UAE due to the COVID-19 situation in India. While an official announcement from the board is yet to come, the BCCI is waiting for an approval from the Indian government before finalising the schedule.
“We have written to the government and are hoping for a reply soon. We will then meet,” Brijesh Patel told the Mumbai Mirror.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel also confirmed that Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be the three main venues.Published 22 Jul 2020, 13:07 IST