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IPL VII won’t move out of the country totally

- First-half action: Either in UAE & Bangla or just in South Africa
IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal with BCCI president N. Srinivasan, in Bhubaneswar, on Friday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is confident of staging around “60 per cent of IPL VII” within the country, in the three-week period between May 13-June 3.

That’s assuming the last phase of the general elections ends on May 11, after which the central and state governments would be able to “release” security personnel.

In today’s environment, security is a key element in mega events, particularly in the subcontinent.

The first half (“about 22 matches”) of IPL VII will have to be played overseas.

That bit was formally discussed by the BCCI’s working committee, which met in Bhubaneswar on Friday afternoon.

The possibility of staging the first half in the UAE and in Bangladesh is “strong.”

According to a top source of The Telegraph, the UAE is back in the frame following “pressure from some franchises,” who favour it for two reasons: (a) Massive presence of expats guarantees handsome gate receipts; (b) Expenses, including use of chartered aircraft, would be appreciably less than doing the same for South Africa.

Apparently, “sponsors,” too, prefer the UAE.

However, the “perception” that the fixing mafia controls operations from Dubai, the most glitzy Emirate, persists. Sharjah, of course, is no more than a short drive away.

“It’s because of a negative perception that the BCCI could look at South Africa and Bangladesh as an option. Or even South Africa, which hosted IPL II, independently,” is how another key source put it.

Matches in the UAE can be held at three international venues — Sharjah (the oldest), Abu Dhabi and Dubai. All are close to each other, which is a distinct advantage.

Bangladesh could get “some matches,” after a “strong pitch” made by the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

It’s a fact that the IPL has a big following in Bangladesh and, frankly, it’s a cricket-crazy country.

Then, Bangladesh scores on the proximity-to-India front.

The Kolkata Knight Riders, for one, will have reason to celebrate if a couple of their matches are scheduled in Dhaka.

Sri Lanka has gone out of consideration, for the second time, as the monsoon can ruin the show.

For much of the evening, there was talk that if IPL VII can’t be held in India at all, then the edition would shift entirely to South Africa.

However, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal hit that for a six.

Speaking exclusively, Biswal told this Reporter: “Take it from me that the latter half will be held in India. Obviously, the specifics can’t be worked out till such time that the election commission announces the poll schedule.”

That’s expected early next week.

One learns that the BCCI had been hoping for the poll schedule before the working committee meeting, which would have allowed president Narayanswamy Srinivasan to make a grand announcement.

That’s on hold.