The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held entirely in India from 23 March 2019, the BCCI said on Tuesday.
The decision comes and lays to rest fan and advertiser fears that 2019 Lok Sabha elections will play spoilsport with the popular T20 cricket tournament.
The venue had been the subject of speculation given that the dates clash with the general elections, which are expected to take place in April-May. However, a BCCI release said the date and venue had been decided on by the Committee of Administrators after discussions with federal and state officials.
“Based on the preliminary discussions with the appropriate central and state agencies/authorities, it was decided that the 12th edition of the world’s most popular and competitive T20 tournament will be scheduled to be played in India,” the BCCI said in a release.
It is likely that the full IPL schedule will be out in early February. In addition to the home bases of the eight franchises, around four to six additional grounds have been shortlisted as back-up. Once the Election Commission of India announces the final dates for the polls, the IPL will consider if any of these venues would need changing.
IPL was moved out of India during the previous two general elections due to security concerns as the governments then refused to security cover for the matches across different cities.
In 2009, the entire tournament was held in South Africa while in 2014, the first 20 matches were held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at three different stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah; the remaining matches were held in India from 2 May after the elections.
The biggest challenge for the franchises next season is that the IPL will end a couple of weeks before the World Cup begins on May 30 in England. As a result, the availability of overseas players towards the tail-end of the season is a bit unclear.