Will Sri Lanka be India’s IPL 2020 choice?
Cricket is a huge tourism attraction in India, with thousands of fans travelling to the country to get a glimpse of the stars. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the biggest annual tournament in the country that draws enormous crowds both from within and overseas. But with the tournament unlikely to be held in India this year due to the Covid-19 situation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is exploring options to hold it abroad.
IPL 2020 was suspended until further notice after it missed its April-May window due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, the BCCI is hoping to hold the tournament later this year, if the International Cricket Council (ICC) decides to postpone the 16-team T20 World Cup, scheduled for October-November in Australia.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has written to all the state associations and stakeholders, stressing that the Indian cricket board is exploring all possible options to host the IPL in 2020. Sunil Gavaskar, very recently, suggested IPL 2020 can be held overseas, preferably in Sri Lanka or the United Arab Emirates if the Covid-19 situation doesn’t ease up by September.
With no time difference between India and Sri Lanka, fans back in India don’t have to worry about having to alter their prime viewing time. Sri Lanka has some great cricket grounds in Colombo, and a knowledgeable crowd.
The IPL, in the past, has been played overseas as South Africa hosted the 2009 edition due to Lok Sabha elections. The UAE hosted the first phase of the IPL due to the elections in 2014.
The Sri Lankan government has announced it will reopen its borders for travellers from August 1. Visitors are required to carry a certificate declaring themselves virus-free issued no earlier than 72 hours. A free Covid-19 test will be done upon arrival at the airport. The results are expected to be delivered within 6 hours. A further test will be done 4 or 5 days later while another test will be done after 10 days if tourists are staying for a longer period. Quarantine of 14 to 21 days is necessary only when a tourist tests positive for the virus during their stay on the island.