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IPL 7: Proximity did the trick for the UAE

Putting an end to a long drawn speculation surrounding the venue for the IPL7, the BCCI on Wednesday announced the IPL 7 will be played from April 16 to June 1.

cricket Updated: Mar 13, 2014 00:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
IPL 7,general election 2014,BCCI

Putting an end to a long drawn speculation surrounding the venue for the IPL7, the BCCI on Wednesday announced the IPL 7 will be played from April 16 to June 1.

The UAE will host the first 16 matches till April 30. Following that, the BCCI is planning to bring the tournament back to India for the next 12 days which is awaiting the Home ministry's approval. Bangladesh will remain on standby in case the BCCI does not get the ministry's nod.

"BCCI has approached the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking permission to play IPL matches in India in cities where polling has concluded in the respective state…. BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard. If it is not possible to play in India during this period, IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a release.

Playoffs in India
After May 13, once polling is over, the remaining league matches including the playoffs will be played in India. There will be no matches on the day of counting on May 16.

Determined to stage bulk of the matches in India, the BCCI had started weighing options of taking the tournaments to various places — the UAE, Bangladesh and South Africa.

"It was not prudent to go to South Africa for just 15 days. We needed at least three to four days to logistically prepare for the India leg once we finished in South Africa and so it didn't make sense. Instead we had to look closer home, either the UAE or Bangladesh," said a BCCI official associated with venue finalisation.

"The UAE was chosen as the three venues— Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai — are close to each other. Also the infrastructure available is of high standard. But we could not have played half the tournament there as we were committed to bring the IPL back to India as soon as possible," said Ranjib Biswal, chairman of the IPL. The chorus for the UAE grew louder after many franchises openly backed the destination due to the strong presence of Indian fans and it being cost-effective compared to South Africa.

Pitch battle
"Since Bangladesh is hosting the World T20, have already hosted the Asia Cup and played a series against Sri Lanka, there would be some wear and tear to the pitches. So we wanted to give them some time to work on the pitches in case we play there in the first week of May."

Despite the ICC welcoming BCCI's move to stage matches in the UAE, the notorious reputation of the venue, which is said to be the hotbed of betting syndicate has stoked the debate, yet again about the image of the tournament. The BCCI had snapped up all its cricketing ties with the Gulf following the match-fixing scandal in 2000.

The BCCI not only has the logistical challenge to conduct the tournament out of India, now it also faces an even bigger challenge — to keep the tournament corruption free.

First Published: Mar 13, 2014 00:40 IST