Processor Intelligence Unit
With the general elections due to be held during the coming summer, a bit of uncertainty looms over conducting the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2024 in the country.
The general elections in a country of 1.4 billion people is a very complicated affair in terms of security logistics, and there is a possibility that at least part of the next edition may have to be shifted abroad, as had been done in 2014.
Sources, however, have indicated that the government is fully committed to stage the prestigious money-spinner in India itself like it was done in 2019. Yet, if worse comes to worst, a part of the IPL could be shifted out of India.
IPL’s holding company, the Board for Control of Cricket in India. cricket board (BCCI) is coming up with a contingency plan if required.
Sources have also revealed that the board is looking to start IPL in the third weekend of March and is keen to finish with the tourney at least a week or 10 days before the ICC’s T20 World Cup gets underway in the West Indies and USA from June 1 to 30.
The board sources also said that the first half of the IPL is most likely to be played in India, while the scheduling of the second half would be decided after there is clarity on the general elections.
In 2009, the entire IPL edition had to be shifted out of the country to South Africa, due to the Lok Sabha elections and again a part of it was conducted away from home in 2014.
“Only under extraordinary circumstances, IPL could be shifted out of India,” a source said.
So, which venue will the board opt for if at all the IPL goes out of the country in the second half?
The usual suspects are Dubai and Sharjah in the Middle-East. Either could an ideal venue if the shifting becomes necessary. But there are also other countries in the fray, notably, the US.
“There are organisers in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi who are ready to host IPL even on a short notice,” the source informed.
How about the IPL in America? Can it be an option to stage the second half of the IPL? There are pros and cons.
If a part of the IPL is played in America, that could be a perfect practice for the top cricketers to get used to the conditions before the World Cup begins from June 1. That’s a clear positive.
But the BCCI will have to calculate sponsorship impact, as the timings of the matches will be difficult for Indian viewers, with a minimum time-lag of 11 hours between India and the US, so the matches will be held very late nights or very early mornings.
With a mammoth global viewership of 416 million, most of it from India, the sponsors look at the drop in viewership if the event is held in the far west.
“The timing of the match won’t be easy to match the Indian audience. Let’s watch and wait,” the source added.
(Coming up… “IPL: The American option”)