BCCI receive offer to play IPL outside of India
Sri Lanka's cricket chief confident the island nation could host the IPL if India isn't able to as BCCI officials target dates later this year
17 April 2020, 07:33 AM AEST
Sri Lanka's cricket chief has put the island nation forward as a potential host of this year's Indian Premier League as the Indian cricket board expressed their desire to find a "safe" window later in the year to hold the tournament.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the Twenty20 competition, which was meant to begin on March 29, "will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so" as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.
A team official told AFP this week that while the IPL has been postponed indefinitely, they would "find a window in the later end of the year to do it".
Media reports said the BCCI may aim for a tournament in September-October, ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The league, which began in 2008, is a huge revenue-earner for the BCCI and is estimated to generate more than $11 billion a year for the Indian economy.
Sri Lanka's cricket board on Thursday offered to host the lucrative tournament in the island nation, which it says it has been less impacted by the virus.
"It looks like Sri Lanka will be clear of the coronavirus before India," SLC president Shammi Silva told Reuters in Colombo.
"If so, we can host the tournament here. We will be writing to the Indian cricket board soon."
He added: "If the Indian board does agree to play the tournament here, we're ready to provide facilities in line with the requirements and recommendations of medical professionals. It would be a substantial source of income for Sri Lankan cricket as well."
The cash-rich tournament has twice been held outside India due to its dates clashing with parliamentary elections.
South Africa hosted the second IPL in 2009, and the first half of the 2014 season took place in the UAE.
Speaking on Thursday, Royal Challengers Bangalore coach and former Australian opener Simon Katich said the possibility of hosting the tournament abroad again is worth discussing.
"Whether it would be in Australia (or elsewhere), that's an interesting topic of conversation," Katich told SEN Radio.
"It would be interesting to see if that would eventuate but obviously it's one of many scenarios that's being discussed."
The uncertainty around this year's event is a big setback, particularly for the 62 cricketers bought for a collective $US18.34 million ($A29m) at the players' auction in December.
Australian Pat Cummins became the IPL's most expensive overseas buy ever when the Kolkata Knight Riders paid a staggering $US2.18 million ($A3.45m) for the fast bowler.
"The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remains our top priority," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement on Thursday that confirmed the tournament had been postponed indefinitely.
"BCCI will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding a potential start date."
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in India has jumped to 12,380, including 414 deaths, as of Thursday.