The Indian Premier League (IPL) is returning to Indore for the first time after 2011. For a cricket starved city, which last hosted an international match, their first Test against New Zealand in 2016, it presents the fans a chance to witness top sporting action in the most exciting format.
Thanks to the franchises’ aim to reach out bigger audience, IPL has often veered to cities with no team of their own. When it all begun in 2008, the aim was to generate and cater to the interest of cricket loving fans in top cities. The first edition of IPL saw all the teams play home matches at their base venues.
But after the 2009 edition was held in South Africa, there was a change in norm. Teams constantly moved out to ‘Tier-2’ cities – which were often claimed to be their catchment area - to tap the growing interest from there. Sometimes, even political and administrative situation contributed to the franchises opting for different home venues.
Though the ‘catchment area’ rule, which required franchises to pick a set number of players from the region their city belonged to, is no longer applicable, they continue to move to different cities as their second ‘home.’
Sometimes, the ‘local’ connect has been missing but that has not deterred teams from trying out new cities.
# Ahmedabad (Rajasthan Royals), Cuttack, Nagpur, Mumbai (Deccan Chargers), Dharamsala (Kings XI Punjab)
Deccan Chargers had to move their matches out of Hyderabad due to violence in Andhra Pradesh, owing to demand for a separate state of Telangana. Ultimately, they played the home games in three separate venues – a first in IPL.
Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab played a couple of their home matches in Ahmedabad and Dharamsala and were the first to generate the idea of spreading the IPL to smaller cities.
# Indore (Kochi Tuskers Kerala), Dharamsala (Kings XI Punjab)
The IPL matches at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in the scenic Dharamsala generated good interest and KXIP again chose it as their second home. It was also the opportunity for a young cricket administrator – Anurag Thakur – to show his skills in guiding top level of cricket.
Indore for the first an IPL match as the erstwhile Kochi Tuskers Kerala surprisingly chose a second ‘home’ which was close to 2000km away from their original base.
# Cuttack, Visakhapatnam (Deccan Chargers), Dharamsala (Kings XI Punjab)
Deccan Chargers again went three ‘home’ venues and played their first few games away from their base in Hyderabad. Dharamsala continued to be KXIP’s hilly respite.
#Ranchi (Kolkata Knight Riders), Dharamsala (Kings XI Punjab)
Kolkata Knight Riders, for the first time, moved out of their hallowed home-ground Eden Gardens for two matches in at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi.
#Cuttack (Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders), Ranchi (Chennai Super Kings), Ahmedabad (Rajasthan Royals), Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi (all teams)
This season was all jumbled as the initial part of the tournament at three venues in the United Arab Emirates. The dates of the IPL clashed with General Elections and it had to be moved out due to security issues.
Apart from that, KXIP chose for a new ‘second’ home in Cuttack which surprisingly was KKR’s home venue too for one match. Ranchi saw its favourite son – MS Dhoni play for the Chennai Super Kings – in his hometown and it created a lot of buzz.
After the UAE leg, Rajasthan played all their ‘home’ matches in Ahmedabad following a tussle between the franchise and the Rajasthan Sports Council.
# Mumbai (Rajasthan Royals, Brabourne), Ahmedabad (Rajasthan Royals), Visakhapatnam (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Ranchi (Chennai Super Kings), Pune (Kings XI Punjab), Raipur (Delhi Daredevils)
The ongoing tussle between the Rajasthan Royals franchise and the state’s sports council meant that once again the team did not play in Jaipur- their original base.
Apart from that, two more cities Raipur and Pune played the new hosts for Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab. Both cities had new and refurbished stadiums and it chose IPL to showcase the glory.
# Visakhapatnam (Rising Pune Supergiants, Mumbai Indians), Kanpur (Gujarat Lions), Raipur (Delhi Daredevils)
The newest teams in IPL - Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants - chose two ‘homes’ in their maiden season.
Apart from their base in Rajkot, the Lions chose Kanpur as their home venue. That their captain Suresh Raina was from Uttar Pradesh played a major role in it.
Pune played a couple of their home matches in Visakhapatnam, which was the ‘home’ venue for another team – Mumbai Indians.
Kanpur (Gujarat Lions), Indore (Kings XI Punjab)
The IPL has returned to Indore after six years and this it has Kings XI Punjab its home ground. Kanpur continues to be Gujarat Lions’ second ‘home’.