IPL Chief Rushes Abroad To Finalise Tournament
Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will travel to South Africa and England in an effort to finalise an overseas venue for this year's edition of the Twenty20 competition.

The Indian cricket board announced on Sunday that it would stage next month's event abroad after failing to get government clearance for security cover because the tournament dates clashed with the country's general elections.

"I'll be visiting both England and South Africa in the next 24 hours," IPL chief Lalit Modi told Reuters.

Modi later told the CNN-IBN channel that wet weather and packed hotel rooms around the London marathon on April 26 were concerns in England.

"One overwhelming factor in England is the weather for us," Modi told the channel.

"England have very easy connectivity from eight or nine Indian cities. There are a lot of South Asian fans.

"The other big issue is England is already preparing for the Twenty20 World Cup and all grounds are ready.

"(But) there is 70 percent chance that rain can disrupt games in the month of May."

The Indian board said the second edition would have to be played on its original dates between April 10 and May 24 due to the cramped international calendar and that that they were in discussions with interested boards willing to host the event.

SECOND SCHEDULE

However, Modi mentioned the possibility of a second schedule with an April 17 start as the Lord's ground would be unavailable on April 10.

Modi said the venue could be finalised by Tuesday night after he concluded his meeting with England cricket authorities.

England is to host the Twenty20 World Cup from June 5. India are the defending champions.

"It would make sense in having the event in England as it would help our cricketers prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup," India's bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad told Indian media.

The decision to move the event overseas for lack of security has been the subject of a national debate in the cricket-crazy nation, with some calling it politically motivated.

The country's two biggest political parties have traded barbs over IPL's decision, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling it a "national shame".

India's home minister hit back on Monday, saying: "It appears that IPL is more than a game. It is a shrewd combination of sport and business. There is no reason to add politics to this combination."

Indian fans and cricketers were disheartened by the shift.

"It is disappointing that the IPL has been moved out of India. We will certainly miss playing in front of our supporters. It won't be the same," Sachin Tendulkar was quoted by Indian media.

Source: bdnews24.com

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