Bangladesh may host from May 1 to 12; rest of the matches in India
After a gap of eight years, India’s top national and first-class cricketers will be seen in action for almost two weeks in the United Arab Emirates.
These players will represent eight franchise teams in the Pepsi-IPL-VII that will begin in the UAE on April 16.
With the relocation of the Twenty20 competition to India uncertain, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which is running short of time to put the logistics in place, has scheduled a number of matches in Bangladesh from May 1 to 12 before making the IPL a truly domestic competition from May 13.
Final on June 1
The final will be played in Mumbai on June 1. The BCCI has been forced to conduct the early part of the league matches abroad because the IPL schedule clashed with the general elections.
The BCCI’s announcement on Wednesday eliminated the preferred venue of South Africa altogether. Obviously cost constraints and the need to provide similar pitch conditions for the entire duration of the tournament forced the BCCI to look towards the UAE and Bangladesh.
“The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said it cannot host matches in the second fortnight of April because it would take some time to prepare the grounds and pitches after the World T20,” said Ranjb Biswal, IPL chairman.
Biswal is, however, hopeful of relocating the league to India from May 1.
Talking to The Hindu, he said: “I am very hopeful. Elections will be completed in April 30 in five States. The home departments of these five States have to provide security. We are awaiting a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). If we get permission, the IPL will be relocated to India on May 1 itself.”
Bangladesh and UAE thanked
A BCCI press release, signed by Secretary Sanjay Patel, said: “For the period from May 1 to 12, the BCCI has approached the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, seeking permission to play IPL matches in India in cities where polling has concluded in the respective State. The BCCI is extremely conscious of the various complexities involved, but it hopes for a favourable consideration. The BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard. If it is not possible to play in India during this period, the IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh. The BCCI is thankful to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and Government of Bangladesh for their support.”
The BCCI has thanked the Emirates Cricket Board, its chairman HH Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, and the Government of UAE for agreeing to host the first leg of the IPL, with the probable venues being Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
According to sources, the MHA has begun the process of ascertaining views from the governments of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Karnataka, especially on their readiness to provide security for IPL from May 1. “We have scheduled 16 matches in the UAE, so we need to conduct another 44 matches. We have set aside 12 days in Bangladesh. We are hoping for the best,” said Biswal.
The BCCI release also said that it would not schedule a match on May 16 when the counting of votes takes place.
The ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson, has expressed happiness at the BCCI’s decision to take IPL to the UAE.
“The BCCI’s decision to stage the first part of the IPL 2014 season in the UAE is great news for the people of the UAE and the region. It will complete a remarkable season of cricket in the UAE, which has already seen the successful staging of the ICC world twenty20 qualifier 2013 and the ICC U-19 cricket world cup 2014. This news comes on the back of the on-field success of the UAE national team which has qualified for both the ICC world twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh and the ICC cricket world cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and has the potential to propel cricket’s profile to new heights in the country.”
More importantly, Richardson has assured all support in conducting the IPL matches.
He said: “Recognising the importance of the integrity of the competition, the ICC will provide its full support for the matches in the UAE, including the provision of anti-corruption services. It will also be a good opportunity for the BCCI and ICC to share knowledge and experience as we both strive to deliver memorable events to fans around the world.”
April 16 to 30: 16 matches in UAE
May 1 to 12: Tentatively in Bangladesh
May 13 to June 1: In India