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IPL on, but stays off poll course

After the frantic speculation of Wednesday and Thursday, there was finally an outcome on Friday over the future of the second season of the Indian Premier League. The new schedule is expected on Sunday. The IPL stakes

cricket Updated: Mar 07, 2009 00:29 IST

After the frantic speculation of Wednesday and Thursday, there was finally an outcome on Friday over the future of the second season of the Indian Premier League.

The IPL, set to arm itself with a reworked schedule, seems to be back on track for the moment. In a meeting of BCCI office-bearers in Mumbai, IPL chairman Lalit Modi reiterated the commitment of tweaking the schedule to ensure no matches are held 24-48 hours prior to and after polling at the IPL venues. “We’d stated we’ll work around the dates as and when the dates for the elections are announced,” an IPL official told HT. “Security is of importance to us, too, and we will co-operate with the government.”

Four new venues— Cuttack, Nagpur, Rajkot and Indore — have been added to the nine already listed. “We’ll shortlist these down to eight depending on the polling dates and the level of security at different venues,” the official said.

Home minister P. Chidambaram, too, seemed to have softened his stance. While he had indicated he’d have preferred to have matches after the poll process, he said on Friday: “I didn’t say matches should be postponed. We’ll try to help IPL hold matches as per schedule. However, rescheduling is required from the security point of view.”

Still, home ministry officials told HT that they would take a call on the matter only after states send their demands for central forces.

The new schedule is expected on Sunday, but the opening ceremony has already been shifted from Jaipur to Mumbai. Speculation will be rife whether this move had to do with Modi’s loss in the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections.

"Mumbai is a bigger venue than Jaipur. Also it is easier for international guests to fly in to Mumbai,” IPL tournament director Dhiraj Malhotra said.

With agency inputs