Ravi Shastri, the former Indian batsman and the present head coach maintained that the IPL 2020 could be well turn out to be great practice for the Indian players, who play in an important series in Australia against the hosts in December.
India will tour Australia for 4 Tests starting 3rd December and 3 ODIs starting 12th January 2021. India will host the 2021 T20 World Cup and will also play England after the commencement of Australian tour.
IPL 2020 offers the Emirates a big opportunity to emerge as a potential neutral venue for all formats of international cricket according to Ravi Shastri, the head coach of the Indian team.
The 57-year-old, who had been one of the long-serving TV expert of the game since his retirement at an early age, felt that the Emirates has a strong potential of not only hosting IPL matches but emerge as a major alternative neutral venue for international cricket.
Ravi Shastri Says It Is Good To Start Preparations With T20 In IPL As It Gets Over Within 3 Hours
IPL 2020 was originally slated to start from 29th March but was postponed after corona-virus pandemic and had to be moved abroad due to rising cases in India. The corona-virus effected cricket in particular as various tournaments like the T20I World Cup in Australia had to be postponed.
Talking to Gulf News, he said, “Here we are talking about not playing cricket for five months, the sport had come to a halt for six years during World War II. Nobody saw it coming, it was a shock to the system which destroyed so many lives and livelihood…what can you do about it!”
Ravi Shastri was appointed head coach by Cricket Advisory Committee on July 2017 and his contract was extended 45 days post-2019 World Cup. On August 2019, Ravi Shastri was reappointed as head coach up to 2021 T20 World Cup which is scheduled in India.
“All the Indian players have been out of action for the last five months, while there is no home and away advantage as well. The good thing is they are starting with the T-20 format and not Test matches, which gets over in just over three hours,” said Shastri when asked about which IPL team holds the advantage.
“The IPL could not have come at a better time as it would give some match time to Virat Kohli and the boys.” Talking about UAE hosting the IPL, Shastri said, “It offers the UAE a chance to make a big statement if they can pull it off without a hitch.”
The Eight franchises will compete in IPL starting 19th September across three venues in UAE namely Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. UAE are less affected comparatively than other countries and has excellent infrastructures.
Ravi Shastri Says UAE Can Be A Host To Any ICC Event As Well As Bilateral Series In Future If Everything Goes Well
IPL 2014 was jointly hosted by India and UAE and the first half was played in UAE because of the general elections back in India. The opening 20 matches from 16th April to 30th April were held in the UAE at three different stadiums in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with the tournament returning to India on 2 May.
“I had said during the 2014 edition of IPL here that it’s just the right choice if the IPL had to ever move overseas – because of the excellent infrastructure and an overwhelming number of Indian expats here. As things stand out, there are not too many countries in the world now which can safely host international matches in view of the COVID-19 situation.”
“If all goes well, then UAE should be in the running to host any major ICC event as well as bilateral series in future,’’ Shastri added.
Previously, Sharjah stadium which is one of the venues of IPL 2020 in UAE held the Sharjah Cup till 2003. The last time India participated in the triangular series was way back in October 2000.
Mainly two or more teams participated in the tournaments but it did not happen after 2003 as Indian Government banned playing there for involvements of bookies in match-fixing incidents which are a common occurrence in Sharjah. Asia Cup though was held in UAE in 2018 and DLF Cup in 2005/06.