ICC telecon this week may decide IPL’s fate

The International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to organise a teleconference with all the 12
Test-playing nations this week, raising expectations for the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be held in September-October this year. There are also speculations that the League might be shifted to a country least affected by coronavirus. The UAE and Sri Lanka seem to be the front-runners as they have recorded less Covid-19 cases so far. According to sources, the BCCI might even go with IPL matches without spectators.

In 2009 and again in 2014, the IPL had to be shifted abroad due to the then Lok Sabha elections. This time the conditions are far more challenging, with the coronavirus pandemic taking the entire world into its grip since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

According to sources, BCCI secretary Jai Shah will represent the board in this telecon-ference. Though the ICC gets approximately 70% of its revenue from the BCCI, the former’s priority at the moment is to organise the World Test Championship, ICC T20 World Cup and ODI League. As for India, IPL and bilateral series are its priorities. Even Cricket Australia, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa are taking interest in organizing bilateral series.

As the BCCI is interested to organise a shorter IPL at the time of the T20 World Cup this year,
sources say, Cricket Australia might join hands with India to shift this world cup to 2021 at the time of the next World Cup in India. If other member-countries support the move, it will put pressure on the ICC. But surely, the top cricketing body would not like to shift the T20 World Cup as it would affect its revenue.

Pakistan and West Indies cricket boards, however, may play spoilers. The PCB’s priority at the moment is the Asia Cup, while the West Indies would like to host the Caribbean League from 19 August to 26 September this year. PCB chairman Ahsan Mani has clearly stated that there would not be any compromise on the Asia Cup, supposed to be
held in September.

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