Amid speculation that the currently-suspended IPL could be held in the UAE due to the rising COVID-19 cases in India, Dubai Sports City’s Head of Cricket and Events Salman Hanif has said they are keeping the facilities ready for such an eventuality.
The IPL is aiming to secure the September-October window, which it might just grab as there is immense uncertainty surrounding the fate of the October 18 to November 15 T20 World Cup in Australia.
Speaking to ‘Gulf News’, Hanif said the Dubai Sports City, which includes the Dubai International Stadium and the ICC Academy, is ready as a potential venue for the glitzy T20 league.
“The stadium has nine wickets on the top in case a large number of matches have to be accommodated within a smaller time-frame. We will not be scheduling any matches there to keep the wickets fresh,” said Hanif.
The UAE has recorded more than 50,000 cases and over 300 deaths because of the deadly pandemic that has thrown the world into disarray. India’s case count, on the other hand, has crossed the 10 lakh mark, including over 25,000 deaths.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has reiterated on several occasions that he is keen to ensure that the IPL does take place this year even if it has to be taken abroad. The ICC is expected to take a call on the fate of the T20 World Cup by next week.
If the IPL does get the September-October window for itself, the eight franchises would want their players to land here a bit early to ensure some practice for the players.
The Indian cricketers have been confined to mostly their homes since March due to a national lockdown and only recently, some of them have started individual net practice.
“The practice facilities are never going to be a problem as we have hosted multi-team events before. In the ICC complex alone, there are 38 wickets – spread over the two Oval grounds, the simulated turf wickets as well as the state-of-the-art indoor facilities in case they want to beat the heat,” Hanif said.