The Emirates Cricket Board said they would “be ready” to host the Indian Premier League if the BCCI decides to move the tournament to the UAE next year.
Earlier this week, reports in India claimed that the UAE remain frontrunners to host the world’s most high-profile T20 competition, should it be partially moved out of the country due to the upcoming general elections.
The UAE are no strangers to staging the IPL after the first 20 matches of the 2014 edition were held across the Emirates in front of big crowds.
And if the 2019 edition is switched to the Emirates, then the ECB insist they will be ready to welcome the world’s best.
“We hosted the Asia Cup and everyone knows our capability,” Zayed Abbas, ECB board member and official spokesperson, told Sport360. “If the BCCI decides to bring the IPL to the UAE, then of course we will be ready. Who wouldn’t wish to have the IPL played in the UAE? Everyone does and more so is the public.”
Abbas did not reveal if any discussions with the BCCI have been held. However, even if they do not stage next year’s extravagant event, the ECB “are proud” that the UAE have become the preferred venue for elite cricket.
Since last month, the UAE have hosted the Afghanistan Premier League, Asia Cup and Abu Dhabi T20, while the T10 League, UAE T20x and Pakistan Super League will be played over the next four months.
“It is something that we are proud,” added Abbas. “You will not be in a position to host such important international leagues like the T10, PSL and Afghanistan Premier League without strong support and facilities. These are because of the facilities we have, the whole structure and the outstanding efforts of the people to make this happen. The hotels, connectivity with airlines and all of this makes a huge difference and that is why we are a preferred venue for cricket tournaments.”
According to a report by the Times of India, the Sunrisers Hyderabad star could be set to move to Kings XI Punjab in a trade which could see Karun Nair going the other way.
IPL franchises have been given until November 15 to retain and trade players they wish to release. Mumbai Indians have made the first big move by roping in South Africa wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock from Royal Challengers Bangalore. The franchise had released Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman and Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya to cover the costs of De Kock’s purchase.
Earlier reports had stated that Mumbai were interested in bringing in Dhawan too, but it seems like Kings XI have moved ahead in that race.
Dhawan had scored 497 runs at an average of over 38 for Sunrisers last season with the help of four half-centuries. His overall IPL record has seen him register 4,058 runs in 143 matches at an average of 33.26 and a strike-rate of 123.53. The India man has a whopping 32 half-centuries to his name.
Although he has plenty of IPL experience, Dhawan’s likely departure from Sunrisers will not be too big a loss for the franchise with Australia’s David Warner set to return for the 2019 edition.
Warner was all set to lead Hyderabad in the 2018 edition before the ball-tampering scandal saw the left-hander sit out the entire tournament.
South Africa could be the possible venue for the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) should the tournament coincide with the upcoming general elections in India.
India is all set to go for general elections in 2019 and the possibility of them clashing with IPL dates is great considering the last elections in 2014 had seen the tournament being partially shifted to the UAE.
The report adds that UAE remains the frontrunners to hosts the event should the tournament have to be only partially moved out of India. However, should the entire tournament be required to shift to an alternate venue, then South Africa could be the most viable option.
The two-man recce team is expected to spend 10 days in South Africa inspecting various venues and will make a stopover in Dubai on their way back to discuss the possibility of conducting IPL matches in the UAE with Emirates Cricket Board officials.
The final decision of the staging of the 2019 edition is expected to be announced once the dates of the general elections have been released.
The tournament has been previously held in South Africa in 2009 when general elections were called in India at the same time. In 2014, some of the matches in the tournament were played in the UAE owing to the general elections once again.