Bengaluru is likely to host this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) final instead of Mumbai, while debutants Rising Pune Supergiants will shift their home base to Visakhapatnam as the Bombay high court disallowed matches in drought-battered Maharashtra this May.
The sulking Mumbai Indians sought time till Sunday to pick their stand-in home city after the top brass of the cash-rich T20 cricket league gave the two Maharashtra franchises four options on Friday — Raipur, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, and Kanpur — to choose from.
Other than the final, which Mumbai was supposed to host on May 29, the qualifier 1 playoff too could go to Bengaluru as the court order forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to reset the schedule.
The other two playoffs — qualifier 2 and eliminator — will be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
“Every franchise would ideally have liked to play at home and none of these two are happy with the shifting of matches. However, we all have to abide by the court order. The Mumbai franchise has asked for extra time to decide,” IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla told Hindustan Times.
The court directed the BCCI to shift all IPL matches after April 30 from Maharashtra, which is grappling with the worst early summer drought in years. Nearly 70% of the state has been declared drought-hit, triggering a massive crisis in the countryside.
Kings XI Punjab had moved their matches out of Nagpur — which falls in the worst-affected Vidarbha region — to Mohali and Dharamsala.
The Pune team chose the Andhra Pradesh coastal town by the Bay of Bengal, leaving their Mumbai counterparts with the Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh cities.
Other than Visakhapatnam, also called Vizag, the other three have a troubled history as hosts.
Technicians had complained in the past about Raipur while poor floodlights and absence of an airport have been hindrances in Kanpur.
Jaipur couldn’t host even the home team, the suspended Rajasthan Royals, in previous seasons because of a feud between the state association and the BCCI. But it is currently the most ideal option as the board has managed an assurance from the Rajasthan government’s sports council to help conduct the games.
The BCCI too has limited options as Chennai is ruled out because of assembly elections in Tamil Nadu while the wicket in Kerala’s Kochi isn’t prepared.
Ahmedabad’s Motera is being renovated while the city’s other stadium, which is under the municipal corporation’s control, lacks international-standard facilities and faces ticket-sharing issues.
Besides a dip in the sale of merchandise, moving a team’s home base could affect its brand value too, an official said. Moreover, Mumbai Indians have spent a fortune to put basic facilities in place at Wankhede stadium.