Mini IPL 2016 set to be held in September
The BCCI has decided to hold a mini-IPL, a condensed edition of the Indian Premier League to replace the now defunct Champions League T20. The tournament will be held in the month of September, the venues for which will be decided on June 24. Indian cricket’s governing board had been pondering over the idea for some time now, with reports first coming out in May.
The Champions League T20 was originally supposed to be held in the months of September-October, but owing to a low interest in the tournament, as well as sponsorship issues, it was done away with. The BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, the three cricket boards who jointly held the league, decided to scrap the tournament on July 15, 2015. Chennai Super Kings, now suspended for a couple of years from the Indian Premier League, were the champions in 2014, the sixth edition of the tournament.
The Mini-IPL is expected to be held outside India, with the USA reportedly in line to be one of the hosts. One of the sources close to the developments explained “It can be a great testing ground for what is possible in terms of reaching out to the Indian fan base abroad.It can be made financially viable if a market like the US is explored. Frankly, if the broadcaster finds it appealing then a lot of things fall into place."
For the tournament to take place, the BCCI must make sure that the International Cricket Council (ICC) does not schedule any tournament in the small window when the mini-IPL is being planned. The BCCI is set to use the window left open by the now-defunct Champions League T20 to make way for the mini-IPL.
September happens to be a convenient month to accommodate the event as there are hardly any fixtures scheduled for most of the Test-playing nations. Australia will be playing Sri Lanka in the final match of their T20 series on September 9. South Africa begin their tri-series involving Australia and Ireland on 25th September. If the BCCI can eke out a tournament from the vacant two weeks in the schedule, the fans can expect another exciting T20 tournament, having already witnessed the World T20 and the IPL.