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Bangla set to host if it’s for 16 ties

- IPL VII BCCI looking to stage 44 matches after the elections
Ranjib Biswal

Calcutta: If the Union home ministry okays a proposal from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to hold “44 of the 60” matches of IPL VII within the country, then the remaining 16 will be held in cricket-crazy Bangladesh.

Owing to the April 7-May 12 general elections, all the matches cannot be held in India, much to the disappointment of franchises and sponsors.

Back in 2009, the entire IPL II had to be moved to South Africa because of the last general elections.

This time, with no Lalit Kumar Modi at the helm of the IPL, the BCCI is working with the home ministry and not trying to prove a point.

Congress’ Odisha stalwart Ranjib Biswal, who has top-level connections in New Delhi and is a much calmer person, is in his first season as the IPL chairman.

“The position, as we speak, is that we’re looking to hold 44 or around 73 per cent of the matches within the country. The ball is in the home ministry’s court,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph on Sunday evening.

Confirmation, however, couldn’t be got from Biswal.

As reported, the BCCI has to complete IPL VII between April 9-June 3. That window can’t be stretched as India have to tour England soon afterwards.

The well-placed source added that South Africa could become the venue for the first half if “50 per cent or so” of the matches have to be held overseas.

“If it’s a matter of just 16 matches, then it won’t be feasible to go all the way to South Africa... Economics is a big factor... That’s why we’re looking at neighbouring Bangladesh,” the well-placed source pointed out.

Apparently, some of the franchises have been pressing for the UAE, but many in the BCCI are wary of the “negative perception” surrounding the Gulf Emirates.

Nobody has forgotten that IPL VI ended with a string of controversies and, so, many in the BCCI don’t want the very next edition to begin on the wrong foot.

Things should be clear in the next few days, but Shah Rukh Khan and his Kolkata Knight Riders, in particular, would be delighted if Bangladesh gets to host some of the matches.

The Knights, after all, have a sizeable following across the border and their squad includes Shakib-al Hasan, a former national captain of Bangladesh.