With the national elections set to take place between April and May next year, the BCCI is readying suitable venues to host the cash-rich tournament either partially or entirely. South Africa and UAE have emerged as frontrunners to host the 2019 edition as they did in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
After hosting the tournament in 2009, South Africa may have to play host once again to the grandest tournament of them all - The Indian Premier League. To many who remember, the 45-day bonanza was an extravagant affair back in 2009 which saw Deccan Chargers emerge as champions beating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final.
However, with the 2019 ICC World Cup set to begin on May 30, the BCCI is facing a logistical nightmare in terms of adhering to official rules and regulations. In accordance with the Lodha Committee recommendations, the BCCI will have to ensure a 15-day window between the IPL and the World Cup. Apart from that, there's the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulation window to follow, which demands that participating nations arrive two weeks prior.
Adding to this dilemma, India is gearing up for a massive nationwide ballot between April and May which is a disruption to IPL preparations. Unless early elections are called for the BCCI will have no alternative apart from shifting the tournament partially if not completely to a foreign nation as it did in 2014, to the UAE.
To accommodate the World Cup deadlines as well as the Lodha Committee recommendations, the BCCI is already working on bringing forward the start of the IPL by close to 15-20 days. The 2019 IPL, therefore, could begin anytime between March 15 and 20.
"That's the only reason why partial shifting of the IPL out of the country is more of a possibility than entirely shifting the tournament. If that's the case, UAE could be the destination," TOI quoted sources saying.
Cricket South Africa, however, are more than happy over the prospect of hosting the tournament, if required. Locals still have fond memories of the tournament, when it took place in 2009.
"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," Cricket South Africa sources claimed.
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