Cape Town: With the Indian Premier League (IPL) being played out of India in the past, the cash-rich league could return to South Africa for the 12th edition. With the sport failing to attract interest in the nation, South Africa cricket fans haven’t witnessed as big as a cricket carnival as the 2009 IPL edition which was won by Deccan Chargers Hyderabad.
However, they might have the chance to witness the extravagant tournament once again if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decide to shift the IPL to South Africa according to a report by the Times of India.
With the possibility of early elections set to take place between April and May, India may expect a comprehensive ballot during the period. Nothing has been finalised yet as of now, but the BCCI is already preparing for the future.
The Indian election schedule clashes during the same year with that of South Africa. And South African locals expect the election polls to be held anytime between the March to July 2019. CSA authorities are already excited about hosting the cash-rich Indian cricket league and are praying that "India go to polls in April and May".
For them, the memories of the IPL action a decade ago still stay afresh. "The only bigger sporting spectacle South Africa has witnessed was the FIFA World Cup. Even the 2003 ICC World Cup here paled in comparison to the excitement that the IPL triggered in 2009," sources said.
Hinting at the Boxing Day Test match in Port Elizabeth (PE), where South Africa bundled Zimbabwe in less than two days, they believe a league like IPL could revive interest in the sport once again.
"There was no interest whatsoever. Venues like Kimberley, East London, PE, they're already drying up for lack of any exciting sporting contests. Only an IPL could bring people back to the grounds in these parts," sources added.
Instead, if the T20 league needs to be partially shifted out of the country due to elections, the IPL will be moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as was the case during the 2014 edition.
The scheduling of the 2019 IPL is potentially going to cause a lot of headaches for the BCCI. The ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup is set to kick-off on May 30th and as per the Supreme Court appointed Lodha Committee recommendations, the national cricket body will have to slot a 15-day window between the IPL and the World Cup.
Following that, all the participating nations have to arrive two weeks prior to the tournament according to the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulation window.
With such a cramped schedule on the horizon, the BCCI is looking forward to commencing the IPL 15-20 days ahead that could see it take place anytime between March 15 and 20.