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English counties offer to host IPL in September

Warwickshire, Surrey and the MCC have expressed interest in hosting the IPL

ipl-2021-auction-trophy (File) The IPL trophy

Even as the BCCI calculates its losses following the suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this week due to COVID-19, a new offer to host the event has arrived.

ESPN Cricinfo reported on Wednesday a group of English counties have asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to invite the BCCI to host the remainder of the IPL in England. A total of 31 matches, including the final, were yet to be completed in this year's edition.

Warwickshire, Surrey and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have expressed interest in hosting the IPL. ESPN Cricinfo reported, "The plans would see the tournament completed in around two weeks in the second half of September."

The grounds associated with the clubs are Lord's and Kia Oval (both in London) and Edgbaston (in Birmingham). ESPN Cricinfo reported, "It is further understood that Lancashire's home of Emirates Old Trafford (in Manchester) could be utilised for the tournament if the offer was accepted, though Lancashire... were not signatories [to the letter to ECB]."

Earlier, there had been speculation the IPL may be moved to the UAE, which is also being considered as the 'standby' venue for the T20 World Cup, which will begin in October.

"Apart from simply completing the tournament, the counties point out that it would help top players to high-quality cricket heading into the T20 World Cup and ensure that pitches in the UAE—where the T20 World Cup could be played if it is moved from India—are fresh ahead of the global tournament. It might also broaden the UK market for the IPL," ESPN Cricinfo reported.

AN ECB spokesperson clarified it had not had any communication from the BCCI on shifting the IPL yet. ESPN Cricinfo reported that the counties hope to host the matches in front of full crowds. However, hosting the IPL in either the UK or the UAE in September would mean multiple matches in one day and possibly no gap between the group phase and knock-out stage.

The main factor likely to complicate hosting the IPL in September is the tight international schedule. India will be wrapping up a Test series in England that month. "The England-India Test series only ends in Manchester on September 14, with England then likely to tour both Bangladesh and Pakistan for white-ball matches within the following month—they are due to play the second T20I in Pakistan on October 14. Most other sides have international commitments around the same time...," ESPN Cricinfo reported.


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