It is likely that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could distribute the first few rounds of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) between the UAE and Bangladesh before taking the tournament back to India.
The UAE and Bangladesh are the front-runners for hosting the first phase of the IPL, not only because of the cost-effective logistics but also because the conditions won't differ much from those in India at the height of summer. But according to a BCCI official involved with the IPL, UAE could host the bulk of the matches.
"As of now, the UAE is likely to host most of the matches in the first half since they have three fresh venues at their disposal (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi). The facilities too are good," the official told HT on Thursday.
Preferred venue Bangladesh comes into the scene at the insistence of some of the franchises who believe the country could be a good replacement for India in terms of spectator interest.
"Bangladesh could have a few matches since the franchises feel the IPL could generate a lot of interest there. But with the Asia Cup and World Twenty20 being already held in Bangladesh, there is a concern over the state of pitches and outfields after so many matches. We will assess the situation before taking the final decision," said the official.
When asked how they are planning to have more than 50% of the IPL matches in India despite getting just around three weeks after the general elections, the BCCI official said they are still trying to negotiate the matter with government authorities.
He said the BCCI is trying to bring the IPL back to India around the final phase of elections on May 12. "Ideally, we are looking to start the second phase at least around May 12, if not before that," said the official.