The Indian Premier League is a domestic tournament. Let us get that clear right at the start. It may have overseas players participating in it but it is still a domestic event of the BCCI. The BCCI also has other tournaments like the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy, which are first-class tournaments recognised by the ICC. This year, the BCCI had allowed overseas players to participate in the Ranji tournament and the odd overseas player did play, though they were not high profile. So, it is not as if there are no foreign players in India's domestic tournament.
After the attack on the Sri Lankan team, suddenly questions are being asked about the feasibility of having the IPL at the same time as the general elections. Last year, when the Karnataka assembly elections were held, the IPL matches in Bangalore were shifted and rescheduled so as not to clash with the election dates.
With the general elections to be held in phases and on different dates, there is similar scope for the matches to be rescheduled in such a way that security for the tournament is not compromised. With eight teams in the IPL, there are eight centres and maybe they may have to be increased so as to ensure that there is no clash with elections. In today's world, no security can be foolproof anywhere in the world including England but does that mean sport should come to a standstill? More crucially, the question is if it was the Ranji Trophy clashing with the general elections, would there be such a big issue made out of it as is being done with the IPL?
Are we to presume that overseas lives are far more precious than Indian lives? The reason that this question is being asked is that just like the Ranji Trophy, the IPL is also a domestic tournament albeit with overseas players in it. Don't our Ranji players play in cities and states where terrorist activities have taken place? Those games were not cancelled, were they? What signal are we trying to send? That a terrorist attack in Lahore can destabilise our domestic tourney?
The Indian cricket lover is looking forward to the IPL and there is no doubt that there is likely to be a voter backlash if he is deprived of backing his team. A cancellation will give opportunity to countries like England to stake claim for holding similar events and the very same people who are screaming themselves hoarse about having events in India, will be gung-ho about having it outside.
There are reports about some overseas players having second thoughts about coming to India in the wake of the Lahore attacks. If overseas players don't come for the IPL it is their choice and they will be the losers and not the tournament. PMG