The Indian Premier League (IPL) is arguably the most popular T20 competition across the globe. Currently, the build up to the IPL 2018 auctions is on the rise.
While the 2018 edition is all set to go as planned, the BCCI is in serious conundrums over scheduling of the 2019 edition of the coveted league. The general elections in India is very much likely to collide with the dates scheduled for the IPL in 2019.
Under this circumstance, there are major chances of the tournament being shifted out of India for an edition. As per the recent reports in Times Now, the two nations who are emerging out to be the top contenders to host the tournament in 2019 are South Africa and the UAE. Both nations have tasted the flavor of the Indian Premier League before. Back in the year 2009, IPL had to be shifted out of India due to the same reason.
South Africa was chosen as the destination for the tournament and it was a major hit back then. The Deccan Chargers had emerged as the champions in that season.
Also, when the 2014 season arrived, the election dates collided with the IPL dates again. This time, a part of the tournament was played in the UAE and was then shifted back to India.
There is no official confirmation about the tournament being shifted out of India as of now. The board is probably waiting for the Election Commission to finalize the dates for the general elections. Once those dates are finalized, a call on the T20 league would be taken. Interestingly, the chances of UAE being the eventual winner is even more.
This is because of the fact that South Africa also will be having general elections around the same time in 2019. Meanwhile, some of the sources in CSA have quoted that the 2009 edition of the mega league was one of the most followed sports carnival in the country.
“The only bigger sporting spectacle South Africa has witnessed was the FIFA World Cup. Even the 2003 ICC World Cup here paled in comparison to the excitement that the IPL triggered in 2009,” some Cricket South Africa sources said.
Early start to the tournament
Moreover, the chances of an early start is almost certain. The Lodha Committee wants a minimum of 15-day gap between the IPL and the ICC World Cup 2019. Hence, it is likely that the tournament will start somewhere between March 15 and March 20.
“That’s the only reason why partial shifting of the IPL out of the country is more of a possibility than entirely shifting the tournament. If that’s the case, UAE could be the destination,” a source was quoted as saying by TOI in this regard.