The hill town of Dharamsala has been included as the third venue for this year’s Indian Premier League which will kick off in Mumbai on April 10 under massive security cover, IPL Chairman Lalit Modi said on Tuesday.
Modi confirmed that Dharamsala will host two matches of the high-profile Twenty20 tournament after a rescheduled itinerary was drawn up for the April 10-May 24 event with Ahmedabad and Vishakapatnam as the other two new centers.
Apart from these new additions, Nagpur was also shortlisted as a possible venue for the high-profile league, but didn’t make the cut.
“A new state has come in and that state government has offered to hold matches. I need it to confer with the franchises. Fortunately, the President of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, Anurag Thakur was in the hotel here. It’s not a happy coincidence, a design trying to make it sure that everything is fine,” Modi said during a function to unveil the new logo for the event’s second season.
“Two matches have been agreed upon and are going to be moved from Chandigarh to Dharamsala. We’ve worked out the dates, those two dates have been frozen,” he added.
Modi also said that IPL will take full responsibility for a centrally-managed security set-up which will cost 10 times more than last year.
Modi said the security of players, officials and fans will no longer be left to individual franchises as was the case last year.
“Security is paramount for us. Players, officials and fans are all very important. Players’ security was the responsibility of the teams last year but this time we have gone venue by venue managing the security centrally. Of course we will coordinate with the teams,” he said.
“Security (budget) will be 10 times more than last year,” he said without divulging the exact figure.
IPL’s security has become a major issue after the Lahore terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers — six of whom were injured — and last year’s Mumbai carnage.
Asked about the reported apprehensions of foreign players and the host state governments, Modi said, “Three state governments (of the eight involved) have already given us their clearance in writing.”
“The other five are expected to give it in a day or so. One state government had asked for a change of date and we are working it out.”
Modi also ruled out apprehension from players from travelling to the country.
“No foreign player has so far contacted the IPL to say that he is apprehensive. They have never been uncomfortable about coming here. India is not Pakistan, we are a safe country,” he said.
Modi also rejected the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations demands for a say in the security arrangements for IPL.
“The IPL is conducted by BCCI and the BCCI talks directly to the Boards. We have never been in touch with FICA. But of course they will talk to the other Boards and coordinate with them,” Modi said.
Modi revealed that Chennai, home to last year’s semi-finalists Chennai Super Kings, will not get to host all seven of its planned games.
“There are a few blackout dates involved because of the elections. So they will not be hosting all seven of their matches,” he said.
Modi said tenders have been floated for multiplexes vying to show live telecast of the IPL matches but with a clause.
“If Mumbai is hosting a match, then the multiplexes there cannot show that match on that day, they will have to show the match going on in some other city,” he said.
Modi also made it clear that the IPL Governing Council had decided not to allow the Twenty20 League to be used for political campaigns by any party for the Lok Sabha polls.
Modi said the confirmed contracted revenue for the second edition of the IPL has gone up by Rs 1,725 crore.
“Now it’s Rs 10,790 crore. Two official partner slots are still open. We are in talks and are close to signing up one of them,” he said.