The new host country of the Indian Premier League and the schedule of its 59 Twenty20 matches will be out by Monday evening, IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said in Mumbai on Sunday.
The league will be held either in South Africa or England after security apprehensions owing to a clash of dates with the general elections forced the organisers to take the April 10-May 24 event out of India.
“We will have the final schedule and which country will host the IPL by tomorrow evening. We have multiple schedules, multiple venues, multiple countries available to us. Now we just need to re-schedule the matches. Each team will have a home in another country, another state and another stadium,” Modi told reporters after meeting the eight franchise owners.
Modi insisted that the “made-for-television event” would be held taking into account the prime-time slot in India.
“I guarantee that the first match will start at 4.00 pm India time and the second match will be held 8.00 pm India time, at prime time for all the fans to be able to watch them,” he said.
Modi refused to blame any one for the IPL’s shift of venue and insisted that the tournament will be back in the country next year.
“I don’t blame anybody for anything. Let’s not politicise the issue,” he said.
“It will continue to be the Indian Premier League, unfortunately we cannot play it in India because of election issues this year and it will be back in India next year. We have to ensure continuity of the tournament. There is no other time for the league to be held this year”, Modi said.
“So, it is important that the league goes forward. It is a domestic tournament being held at an international venue,” he explained.
Contrary to media speculation, Modi said having a truncated IPL was never an option.
“It cannot be a truncated tournament. It doesn’t make sense to have truncated tournament. We understand the sensitivity regarding elections in India and taking into account that sensitivity, we have decided to move the tournament overseas,” he said.
Modi also rubbished accusations that the organisers’ desperation to hold the event was prompted by financial concerns.
“It’s not about money. We are going to be spending a lot more in holding the IPL out of the country. We will probably make no profit but that is not the concern”, he said.
“Loss is not an issue, so don’t bring it up. We are not concerned about profit. Our issue is to make sure that all fans get to watch the highest quality of cricket wherever it needs to be played,” Modi asserted.
Modi said Pakistani players, who had been barred from coming to India for IPL by their government, will not be able to play the league due to rules which bar changes in squads.
“IPL announced the squads 30 days in advance. No changes are allowed in that. Unfortunately, no Pakistani player will play this year,” he said.