Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday said his "first priority" remains to host the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India. The former Indian cricket team captain in a statement said he hopes to see the grand gala event taking place this year although he is concerned by the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Initially scheduled to kickstart on March 29, IPL 2020 has remained suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Despite expressing his wish for cricket to return to normalcy, Sourav Ganguly said a final decision on the upcoming IPL edition can be taken only after the ICC makes a move regarding the T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Australia-November. Ganguly, in a recent interview said, "We don’t want the year 2020 to finish without an IPL. Our first priority is India and even if we get 35 to 40 days, we will host it. But we don’t know where…,".

It is to be noted that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the UAE have offered to host the thirteenth edition of the IPL in case there are logistical issues in India taking into consideration the rise in coronavirus cases. Although a viable option, the decision to host the league overseas will lead to an increase in the costs. "I will put it in this order. Firstly, whether we can (have an IPL) within the time frame as IPL has limited window. Secondly India. If it’s not possible then we are thinking of going out (abroad). But going out where…because if you go out it becomes expensive for everyone — franchises and board. Because of conversion rate and currency exchange rate it becomes expensive. So we are monitoring but as I said we are very keen to host it and got our fingers crossed.", Ganguly stated.

With a call yet to be taken on whether the T20 World Cup will be played this year or not owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the delay also has the top brass in the BCCI and other IPL stakeholders made to wait indefinitely. Ganguly said, "We don’t know yet as we don’t have a decision from ICC regarding the T20 World Cup. We keep hearing different things from the media but unless it is officially told to Board members, you don’t know what’s happening,".

Speaking about the distressing situation across the country's major cities with IPL franchises, the BCCI President said, "If it doesn’t happen in India because of COVID, then places like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, these have big teams in IPL but at this point, you can’t put hand to your heart and say cricket will happen in these places." He added, "Ahmedabad we were keen to go there. It’s an amazing stadium. I don’t know whether we can go there or not. It’s not easy at the moment to say we are going to host it in India."

The IPL has been organized only once abroad in its 12-year history when the tournament was shifted in 2009 to South Africa after the dates coincided with the general elections in the country then. The former Indian skipper states, "See it’s been very tough for everyone of us and I look at everyone as a whole. Being in lockdown from March, April and May and then everything opened up. But everything opened up with a scare." He further continues, "Anyway, if you look at numbers, it’s more than it was during lockdown. It’s spreading very quickly. It’s scary but I have never experienced any such thing ever in my life." 

Ganguly remained optimistic for the sport to be played once again at the earliest and said, "See I want to have it as I said that cricket needs to be back. For us this is actually off season which has actually helped. We finished our season in March just after which IPL was about to start." He added, "And we had to cancel IPL which is the most important part of our domestic season. We want IPL to happen. Because life needs to be back to normal. Cricket needs to be back to normal."