IPL goes offshore, first phase in UAE, final leg in India

IPL goes offshore, first phase in UAE, final leg in India

 The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that the United Arab Emirates would host the initial 16 matches of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) seventh edition to be held between April 16 and June 1.

Besides the UAE, the BCCI has also pencilled in Bangladesh to host matches from May 1 to 12. The announcement ended speculation over off-shore venues of the T20 league, partly shifted out of the country owing to the general elections scheduled between April 7 and May 12.

The tournament will return to India for the final phase from May 13 though the BCCI is hoping that the Central government gives its nod for bringing the IPL back to India immediately after the UAE leg (April 16 to 30).

The early return to India would be possible only if the government agrees to provide security to the tournament in states where polling would have been concluded at that stage. A detailed schedule is, however, yet to be drawn.

“For the period from May 1 to 12, the BCCI has approached the Ministry of Home Affairs,  seeking permission to play IPL matches in India in cities where the polling will have concluded in the respective states,” Board Secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement on Wednesday.

The initial phase of the tournament would be played at three venues in the UAE – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah – from April 16 to 30. After former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi antagonised the Indian government by shifting the IPL to South Africa in 2009, it was clear from the BCCI’s carefully-worded release that it didn’t intend to invite the wrath of the authorities again. 

“The BCCI is extremely conscious of the various complexities involved, but 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, IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh and the BCCI is thankful to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the government of Bangladesh for their support,” it said.

But there is no ambiguity for the final leg, which will be held in the country. “From May 13, the remaining matches plus the playoffs will be held in India. There will be no matches on the counting day, May 16,” the BCCI said.

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