The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have to plan in advance when it comes to hosting the 12th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2019.
With the Cricket World Cup starting on May 30, the apex body of Indian cricket has been forced to start the tournament early. The cash-rich T20 league, which has fast-grown into a multibillion-dollar entity, is likely to begin as early as March 29 next year, according to The Times of India.
The BCCI cannot afford to let IPL run till the end of May as both the local and overseas players would need sufficient time for preparation and promotional activities in the lead up to the quadrennial 50-over tournament, which will be hosted by England.
On the other hand, BCCI will also look to keep the T20 extravaganza in India amid a possible clash of dates with general elections in 2019.
Stakeholders want IPL to be held in India
While it was reported last month that the IPL could be moved out of India (to the United Arab Emirates) in 2019, stakeholders are keen on playing the tournament in India, sources have told the news daily.
The craze for the eight-team league and the revenue generated if the league is held in India is unmatched.
Notably, the IPL was shifted to UAE for just 19 days in 2014 due to the multi-phase general elections in the country. Also, in 2009, the cash-rich T20 league was moved to South Africa and it failed to garner the desired response, especially after a successful inaugural season that was held in India.
While reports have suggested a possibility of general elections being held as early as in the fourth quarter of 2018, BCCI is waiting with bated breath for the Center's decision. If the elections go as planned between April-May in 2019, the cash-rich cricket body is likely to shift the IPL out of the country.
Nonetheless, the BCCI will be looking to take an early decision as they would want to avoid last-minute confusions.
"The IPL – under the new set of contracts and revenue models – is going to be a billion-dollar entity every season. There's a lot at stake for many who are committed to the league," the source was quoted as saying by the daily.
"Moreover, there's absolute unanimity among stakeholders that as much as possible, they'd like the league to be played in India, not abroad."
The 2018 edition of IPL had generated a lot of buzz as it marked the return of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR). Local stars and foreign stars alike made themselves available for the most part of the season and gave the cricket fans in the country a lot to cherish.
CSK, led by MS Dhoni, defeated Kane Williamson's Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final last month to clinch their third IPL title.