The seventh edition of the IPL may be played in three countries, after all.
It is reliably learnt that Bangladesh and the UAE could together stage five of the seven weeks of the Twenty20 league before the bandwagon moves to India after the last phase of the general elections is completed in mid-May.
In Bhubaneshwar, Two important BCCI committees met in succession. First, the governing council, chaired by Ranjib Biswal, evaluated the 'questionnaires' filled up by South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
"Every prospective host has its own pluses and minuses," an official who attended the meeting said. "The first five weeks will be played overseas. We don't know where. But the last two weeks will be held in India. We hope the elections will be over by May 10 or 15," he added.
Any and every decision taken by a BCCI committee has to be ratified by the working committee. It was no different on Friday. The panel, chaired by BCCI president N Srinivasan, took into account the suggestions made by the GC and agreed to make the announcement only after the dates of the general election are made public.
All these days, South Africa were the heavy favourites. They still are, but the glitch is that the Rainbow Nation will also go to polls around the same time (May 7). Elections in the African republic aren't as grand an affair as it is in these parts, but it is reliably learnt that the South African government has directed Cricket South Africa "not to go out of its way" to rescue the BCCI. And as a result, CSA has conveyed that it can't host more than three weeks of IPL. Moreover, the formation of the Big Three in the ICC hasn't amused the cricket fraternity in South Africa one bit. No wonder, then, that CSA isn't going all out to grab the hosting rights.
The onus is now on Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates to find a way to host the league together. Both countries have hosted big-ticket cricket this season and their pitches are already showing signs of wear and tear. In fact, Bangladesh will host the World Twenty20 in March-April. The IPL could start a week after that.
Most franchise owners are dead against playing abroad. But the prospect of going to Bangladesh wouldn't worry them much because the costs will come down significantly. Also, a city like Dhaka is just a stone's throw away from Kolkata and about three hours from Mumbai and New Delhi. Ditto with the venues in the UAE, although one can't exactly fly from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. "We will have to dependent heavily on roadways," an official pointed out. The BCCI is also wary of the fact that the UAE is a hub of betting activity. Several underworld dons have/had bases there.
Srinivasan also briefed the working committee about India's numero uno position in world cricket. "The president was delighted to inform us that he will become the ICC chairman later this year. He aslo told us that the BCCI will be richer by $600 million (approximately Rs 3,700 crore) between 2015 and 2023. The state associations obviously stand to benefit. As of now, the BCCI allots Rs 27 crore as grant to every association each year. "We will now get an extra Rs 15 crore," a state association official informed.
Pandove makes a point
Punjab Cricket Association secretary MP Pandove questioned Srinivasan over India's recent poor performances in South Africa and New Zealand. "The president told the house that he has taken due cognisance of the situation and has spoken to the support staff of the Indian team, including coach Duncan Fletcher. He plans to do so again after the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh," a working committee member told PTI.
Meanwhile, it has been decided that the IPL player auction will now be held after the completion of the BCCI's domestic T20 championship (Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy).