Earlier, there were speculations that the IPL could start on September 26, but now it is set to start a week earlier. It will be a 51-day tournament.
The Indian Premier League is all set to begin from September 19 and will continue till November 8 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the tournament's Governing Council chairman, Brijesh Patel, has confirmed.
The BCCI had initially proposed September 26 to November 8 as the window but decided to advance the start by a week in order to reduce afternoon games. Lesser afternoon games, likely to start at 3.30 pm IST (2 pm UAE) will be better suited for cricketers as well as broadcasters to ensure lesser fatigue and more revenue.
"We have decided on the dates. The Governing Council will meet shortly to discuss the other details," Patel said on Friday.
He also indicated that the meeting could be held early next week and the Emirates Cricket Board will be informed soon.
Speaking to this publication, one of the officials in the UAE stated that they are yet to formally hear from the BCCI. "But we have all the facilities in place and we will ensure that things are hosted smoothly," the official said.
This publication understands that the BCCI will be renting the ICC Academy grounds for the training of the teams. With a state-of-the-art facility, the Academy has two full grounds along with 38 turf pitches and six indoor wickets. There is also a specialised outdoor conditioning area.
"In terms of facilities, the UAE is very well equipped. There is not much time now, so we have to sort out the logistical issues," one of the franchise officials said. The franchises are mulling the idea of chartered flights for the teams, but that will only be decided in the Governing Council meeting.
As per the health guidelines in Dubai, the quarantine will not be required if people travelling to the city are carrying a negative COVID-19 report. However, in case there are any issues, one needs to undergo a fresh round of tests. The players and the stakeholders will also need to download the DXB app to follow the health and safety protocols.
It has been learnt that a bio-bubble model is unlikely in the UAE. However, the floors will be sanitised regularly and optimum care will be taken, one of the Board officials said.
Women's IPL to be discussed
As per the original schedule, four teams were also supposed to play the Women's T20 Challenge.
However, Patel said the Governing Council is yet to take a call on the possibilities of hosting matches for the women cricketers. "That's in the plan. We will be discussing the matter in the meeting," Patel said.
The Indian women's cricket team was scheduled to travel to England for a triangular series, but the BCCI called off the tour recently.