IPL Schedule in “Couple of Days", Second-Tier Cities on Standby

Devadyuti Das | Updated: March 12, 2019, 4:15 PM IST
IPL Schedule in “Couple of Days

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With the dates for the 2019 General Elections now announced, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is working out the final schedule for the IPL which gets underway on March 23. The BCCI had only announced the schedule for the first two weeks of matches earlier, saying they wanted to wait for the schedule of the general elections before preparing the final schedule.

The majority of franchises shouldn’t be too affected by the election dates and could easily avoid a clash with minor tweaks. The major concerns will be games in Kolkata and Mumbai, since elections in West Bengal and Maharashtra are spread across seven and four phases of polling respectively, that will take place throughout the duration of the tournament.

In the absence of an IPL Governing Council, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) have left the task of working the schedule out to UK-based International Management Group (IMG), the event rights holder of the league.

“IMG have been tasked with figuring out the nitty-gritties of the final schedule. It is important that the venues are fair to all the IPL franchises. But we also have to keep in mind that security in the games is provided by the respective states, so we can’t go against their advice. The priority of the police will be smooth conduct of the elections,” an official close to the development informed CricketNext.

Second-tier venues like Rajkot, Indore, Vizag, Dharamshala and even Lucknow have been put on notice host some of the IPL franchises. Venues like Delhi can hold all their ‘home’ matches considering the fact that it goes to vote on May 12 while Mohali will only see voting on May 19, by which time the IPL will be over.

“Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab can host all of their games potentially. However, we have to be fair to all franchises. If some of the other teams are playing 2-3 games at alternate ‘home’ venues, we can also ask Delhi and Punjab to do the same as we have done in the past,” the official said.

In earlier editions, Delhi have played some of their IPL games in Raipur while Punjab franchise are familiar with venues like Indore and Dharamsala, which are there catchment areas. It is understood that Kings XI were more than keen on playing majority of their games in Indore because the Madhya Pradesh produces much better ticket sales as compared to the PCA stadium in Mohali.

Even Rajasthan Royals have played some of the games in Rajkot while Sunrisers Hyderabad are not unfamiliar to Vizag stadium. The question is where will a franchise like Mumbai Indians move, since Maharashtra is one of the states where election will be held in four phases.

For the Kolkata Knight Riders, Cuttack could have been one of the options but even Odisha like Maharashtra will witness voting in four phases.

“We have no problem in taking IPL to smaller centres because in the past we have seen great response to the tournament at these venues. Whether it’s Ranchi, Cuttack or Indore, the stadiums are always packed,” a senior BCCI official said.

The BCCI expect the final schedule to be announced in a couple of days’ time.
First Published: March 12, 2019, 3:15 PM IST
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