Indian cricket board president Sourav Ganguly expects next year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) to be played in the country after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to stage the second half of this year’s tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
The eight-team tournament with an estimated brand value of $6.8 billion was halted near its halfway mark in May after two franchises reported coronavirus cases.
The second half was subsequently shifted to the UAE, with Chennai Super Kings led by former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni winning their fourth IPL title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders in Friday’s final in Dubai.
The league will add two more franchises in its next edition, and Ganguly was optimistic of hosting it back in India in front of boisterous crowds.
“I hope so, because it’s India’s tournament,” Ganguly said in an online conversation on Saturday.
“As much as you see the superb atmosphere in Dubai, it’s different in India. It’s absolutely madness in India with the stands full. We’d love to have it back in India.”
“I’m sure in the next seven-eight months, the COVID-19 situation will be very different, and we can host it in India with packed stands and the supporters pouring.”
The former India captain was speaking after launching a Twenty20 World Cup campaign for fantasy sports platforms My11Circle of which he is the brand ambassador.
Judging by the second half of the IPL, many believe the World Cup, to be co-hosted by the UAE and Oman, will prove to be a low-scoring tournament. But Ganguly begged to differ.
“I don’t think so. Maybe in Sharjah, it will be because of the wickets. But Dubai is an absolute belter,” Ganguly said.
“Abu Dhabi will be a great surface to bat on, and it’s going to be a great World Cup.”
The BCCI remains the host board of the World Cup, which also had to be shifted due to the pandemic.