Kings XI Punjab might play their home matches in Lucknow next year
Lucknow's Ekana International Cricket Stadium might be IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab's home ground come IPL 2018. The Mohali-based franchise have reportedly asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a change in the home stadium.
Apparently, the KXIP management team visited the facilities in Lucknow and seemed to have liked them. A source told Sportskeeda, "The KXIP people had visited the Ekana Stadium and seemingly liked it. However, it depends on BCCI whether they allow the move or not."
Importantly, if the shift doesn't work out for the IPL side, they might still end up playing a couple of matches in Lucknow. Previously, various other IPL teams have played two of their fixtures in a different city as well.
This development comes after reports emerged in August this year that KXIP have put in a request for a shift in base. A BCCI official had told CricketNext then that the process will be a lengthy one and IPL Governing Council will review the franchise's situation before forwarding it to BCCI's working committee.
“It is a lengthy procedure and not something that can happen overnight. Firstly, the request needs to be submitted to the GC who will then look into it and take into consideration the various factors stated by the franchise for the shift of base. Also, only after they find merit in the request they will forward it to the working committee of the BCCI. But let me tell you, it is a complex procedure and one that shall require time,” he said.
One of the prime reasons being thrown around for KXIP's request is that they haven't been able to attract the kind of support they would've hoped for. Moreover, the fact that they made past the league stage only twice in 10 years has only made things worse for them.
As far as the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow is concerned, it was recently in the news as the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association wanted to host the third ODI between India and New Zealand here. However, ICC didn't deem the under-construction stadium fit for an international match and ultimately the Green Park in Kanpur was awarded the tie.
After hosting two of the four Duleep Trophy matches, including the final, the stadium in Lucknow is currently hosting the Ranji Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Railways.
The stadium was also set to be awarded the two IPL matches which were played in Kanpur earlier this year but the facilities weren't good enough back then.