29 March the tentative date for IPL 2019
What's the story?
Adhering to external factors and committee recommendations outside their sphere of control, the BCCI has no option but to commence the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League as early as March 29. The general elections expected to be held in the country in the similar time window as the IPL, followed by the ICC World Cup in England and Wales that begins on May 30, the BCCI has decided to start the perennially anticipated event earlier than it usually does.
In case you didn't know...
On two occasions, the IPL has been played overseas because of the general elections. While in 2009, the tournament was held in its entirety in South Africa when Adam Gilchrist led his inspired troops of underdogs to an unlikely victory against all odds, in 2014 the first 19 days of the league were staged in the country that serves the Messiah in cases of scheduling crisis, United Arab Emirates.
The heart of the matter
BCCI's dilemma can be broken down into three phases. The Lok Sabha Elections, with its magnitude being bigger than ever in terms of relevance and consequences, will most likely be held over a span of two months as in 2014. Secondly, the ICC World Cup, which begins on May 30, requires the players to report in the host country at least two weeks before the commencement of the tournament for promotional purposes. The last piece of the unsolved puzzle is the 'recommendation' by the Lodha Committee set up by the Supreme Court that deems the IPL to be concluded at least 15 days before India's next cricket engagement.
“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. Moreover, there’s absolute unanimity among stakeholders that as much as possible, they’d like the league to be played in India, not abroad,” a source was quoted so by Times of India.
"IPL stakeholders will definitely want to know in advance if the 2019 edition can potentially clash with the elections. Planning in advance will be the key,” added a tournament stakeholder.
Since an overseas leg of IPL isn't seen financially and logistically as viable, the BCCI will have to have the think-tanks running and the clashing of the IPL with the elections could also mean hosting the matches in bunches in specific regions, it might also lead to the expansion of the league into new cities. While that will give the taste of a world-class brand of cricket to the usually deprived places and will thus contribute towards increasing the popularity of the game, it might hamper teams' strategy of picking their rosters with some emphasis on the ground they are bound to play half their matches on.
Is it worth the risk to hold an IPL 2 months before World Cup 2019, keeping in mind the potential injuries that could hamper national team setups? Let us know in the comments below.