The IPL is set to move to the smaller towns. The decision, though a forced one, will not only help the league reach out to new spectators, it will also raise the question if these centres have the facilities (hotel, transport and security) to host the high profile matches.
The IPL short-listed Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vizag and Cuttack as additional venues a few days back, before adding Dharamsala to the list.
While Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot do not have problems regarding hotels and transport, the other three centres too claim they are prepared to host the show. See Graphics
“We can provide adequate accommodation and travelling wouldn't be an issue,” said Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association spokesperson Sanjay Sharma. “We don't have five-star hotels, but we have three-star hotels. Pakistan played against the Board XI here in 2005 and didn't complain,” he said.
As for travelling to Dharamsala, Sharma said, “The airport is just 10km away from the stadium and there are 70-seater and 50-seater aircraft operating regularly to the town. The players can either board directly from Delhi or Chandigarh,” he said.
Cuttack too is sure of its abilities. “It's an international venue and we have hosted quite a few matches. So, I don't think there should be a problem,” said Orissa Cricket Association president Ranjib Biswal. “Like in international games, the teams can stay in Bhubaneswar, which is just about 30km away and a half- hour drive,” he said.
Vizag may not have reputed five star accommodation, but the fact that it has hosted two ODIs and international teams have put up here, accommodation shouldn't be an issue. The stadium is about 10km from the city, but the Visakhapatnam District Cricket Association said the franchise interested in hosting matches here is fine with the distance. With these venues willing and prepared to host matches, the wait's on for the release of the revised schedule.