MUMBAI: There is good news for Indian cricket fans, who were left disheartened after the news hit that the first 20 matches of this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick-off in UAE.
IPL is set to return to Indian shores on 2 May for the remaining 36 matches, including four play-offs, which will be played in the home-leg.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after having successive discussions with the authorities at home, decided that the IPL can be played at home beginning from 2 May. The first leg of the IPL will be held in UAE from 16 to 30 April due to the general elections in India.
In the home-leg, each franchise will play nine matches and five of the eight teams will be playing at least four matches in their home stadium.
Chennai Super Kings will play two matches at Ranchi, while Kings XI Punjab will play two games at Cuttack. Rajasthan Royals will play four matches at Ahmedabad. There will be no matches on 1 May and 17 May.
The schedule of the UAE leg has also been tweaked to suit the franchises. The evening match slated for 26 April in Abu Dhabi, between Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), will now be designated as a home match for the Knight Riders and the 28 April match in Dubai, between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and KXIP, will be designated as a home game for Kings team.
“Following on from the launch of ticket sales for the UAE leg today (3 April), I am pleased that we are now able to confirm the dates for the rest of the season,” said BCCI-IPL interim president Sunil Gavaskar in a press statement.
“It is great news that the fans back home in India will be able to watch a large part of the Pepsi IPL 2014. Given the various challenges and the logistical complexities, we have spent a considerable amount of time in crafting a balanced schedule,” he added.
IPL governing council chairman Ranjib Biswal said, “We are delighted to have the season back in India at the start of May. Organising an event of this scale at multiple venues in two countries is an enormous organisational undertaking and we are very grateful to the Government of India, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police authorities in the various states for their support.”
Hosting IPL involves elaborate planning on several fronts, logistics included and it is critical that there is surety on the availability of the match venues, for a tournament of this magnitude. The BCCI has tried to work with various franchises and stakeholders to get confirmations to host matches in the cities.
The Rajasthan Royals have indicated to the BCCI that they are pleased to play their four home matches of the India leg of the 2014 season, at Ahmedabad, to avoid any uncertainty to their home matches. KXIP and CSK will be playing some of their home matches outside Mohali and Chennai respectively, due to non-availability of their home venue, for a large portion of May 2014.
Looks like the IPL will continue to look at as many venues as possible to play the tournament in forthcoming seasons, and that’s a good sign for smaller states and regions to come to the forefront.