3.37 AM Sunday, 1 October 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:54 06:07 12:11 15:33 18:09 19:23
01 October 2023

UAE emerges as the front-runner to host IPL 7 next month

Kolkata Knight Riders team co-owner and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan poses with the Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy during a press conference at his residence in Mumbai, India. (AP)

By Allaam Ousman

UAE has emerged as the front runner to host IPL 7 since the tournament dates are clashing the Indian general elections.

South Africa, which was the preferred venue earlier, has been effectively ruled out after the IPL (Indian Premier League) Governing Council meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday, it has been widely reported in Indian media.

Bangladesh, which will host the World T20 later this month, is the other venue in fray, but UAE, who recently hosted the U-19 World Cup, is the preferred option, according to Mid-Day.

“We would assess the ground conditions in Bangladesh after the World T20 and take a decision of taking some matches there later. But most of the matches are likely to go to UAE,” a governing council member was quoted as telling Mid-Day on Wednesday.

UAE cricket officials were excited by the new but were awaiting official comfirmation from the BCCI.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed. It is a between Bangladesh and UAE," said an official speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It will be a big boost for UAE cricket. UAE is more accessible to cricket fans from India and certainly more cost effective in comparison to other countries," he added.

UAE, which also has the game's headquarters situated in Dubai, successfully staged the ICC World T20 qualifiers and more recently the ICC Under 19 World Cup.

It has three main stadiums in different cities which is easily accessible to cricket fans.

Sharjah Cricket holds Guinness Record for staging the most number of one-day internationals. Dubai has the 'Ring of Fire' while Abu Dhabi has the quaint Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Dubai has also been a popular destination for Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan who own Kolkata Knight Riders.

Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty are also co-owners of IPL teams Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals.

South Africa was ruled out as Cricket South Africa wanted to stage the entire tournament, it has been reported.

Another source said the South African market is dominated by Coca Cola, a rival to Pepsi, which is the title sponsor of IPL.

However, the business end of the IPL will be held in India.

“We can hold matches after May 16. The IPL chairman and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan also met defence ministry officials. We will get enough security after the elections are over,” another source added.

The decision to host "bulk of the matches" in India was taken after a meeting of BCCI bigwigs, including its president N Srinivasan, senior vice-president Rajeev Shukla, secretary Sanjay Patel, Biswal and IPL CEO Sundar Raman at a city hotel.

Meanwhile, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal, talking to reporters in the Capital, sounded confident of conducting a majority of the matches in India.

“Now that the election dates have been finalised, we are working towards hosting a bulk of the matches in India. Since it is the Indian Premier League we need to accommodate as many matches in India,” Biswal was quoted as saying by PTI.

India's election commission Wednesday announced the dates of the Lok Sabha polls which will be held in nine phases between April 7 and May 12.

Counting of votes would take place on May 16.

IPL7 is scheduled to start on April 9 and run until June 3.

The Indian Home Ministry has conveyed to the BCCI that it would be able to provide security to the T20 tournament only after the general elections.

"We have conveyed to the BCCI that we will not be able to provide security to IPL matches. Our forces will be deployed for security of Lok Sabha elections. So, how we can give them forces," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters earlier.