No IPL 2019 in UAE as BCCI to host full season in India
Indian cricket board ends speculation on where T20 league will be held, even as elections set to be held in April-May
The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League will take place entirely in India, the cricket board said on Tuesday. This means the annual Twenty20 competition will not return to the UAE, where it was partially held in 2014.
The two-month-long IPL will be held from March 23 with a detailed schedule to be announced later, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) added.
The announcement comes amid widespread reports that the money-spinning league could be moved out of the country, and possibly to the UAE, due to security concerns as India is to hold general elections by May.
"Based on preliminary discussions with the appropriate central and state authorities, it was decided that the 12th edition of the world's most popular and competitive T20 tournament will be played in India," the BCCI said.
"The detailed schedule will be finalised in consultation with the appropriate authorities."
According to a report that appeared on ESPNcricinfo, the information has been passed on to - and received by - the franchises. The report also said the IPL had briefed the franchises during last month's player auction about the various plans it had chalked out in case the tournament had to be moved out of the country.
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Providing security for the IPL can be a challenge at a time when state governments are preoccupied with election duty in the country of 1.25 billion people. It is why the 2009 season was held in South Africa while part of the 2014 tournament was staged in the UAE.
Scheduling has been made harder this year because the Cricket World Cup gets underway in England on May 30, which has also put the availability of overseas players towards the tail-end of the season in doubt.
Yet, the league is expected to be heavy on star power.
Australians Steve Smith and David Warner will return after missing last year's tournament following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. They are serving year-long bans for their part in the Cape Town incident in March and were barred from the 2018 event.
Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad paid US$1.67 million (Dh6.13m) each at the auction for the services of Smith and Warner, respectively. Little-known Indian mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy hit the jackpot, being snared for $1.2m by Kings XI Punjab.
The eight-team league with owners including India's richest man Mukesh Ambani, and Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta has attracted top players from leading cricketing nations.
Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the most successful teams having won the title three times each.
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Updated: January 8, 2019 05:31 PM