Keeping in mind the next year’s general elections in the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering various scenarios for the hosting of IPL 2019. However, the final decision will be taken only after the schedule for the 2019 general elections are publicized.
As per a report in The Economic Times, the BCCI is looking at four options, including advancing the event to March-April and holding it outside the country.
“While the effort is to keep the entire tourney in India, a lot will depend on the dates of the general elections,” a BCCI insider quoted as saying by The Economic Times.
According to sources, the four options being taken into consideration by the cricket board are: a caravan format — where all the teams travel together to all the venues — with 5-8 venues for a total of 60 matches; organising matches in smaller and non-conflicted stadiums within the country; staging some matches in India and rest in the UAE (like in 2014); and holding the entire competition in South Africa (like in 2009).
“Currently these four options are on the drawing board,” said a second person. “Of course Star India and the franchises want the league to be in India, so do the advertisers.”
With the World Cup 2019 set to commence on May 30 in England and Wales, the BCCI is thinking about finishing the IPL at least 15 days before the marquee event. Moreover, each team will play at least a couple of warm-up games before the World Cup and thus the Men in Blue will have to be in England by at least May 25. All these factors are to be taken into account while finalising the IPL itinerary.
“We are also planning to advance the whole league to March-April, like in 2010 so that it can finish ahead of elections and there is a good rest period for the players before ICC World Cup,” one of the sources said.
“IPL will have to be advanced as captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have asked for a minimum of two-week rest period ahead of the World Cup for fast bowlers,” the person said. “They have raised this demand during their meetings with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) as well as BCCI board members.”
This might force BCCI to start IPL as early as in the second or third week of March. During the previous two general elections, IPL had to move out of India as the governments refused to provide security cover.
While the entire tournament was shifted to South Africa in 2009, in 2014, the first 20 matches were held in the United Arab Emirates at three different stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and the remaining matches were held in India from May 2, after the elections.
(With inputs from The Economic Times)