South Africa may have been the preferred destination to stage Indian Premier League 7 due to the tournament's dates clashing with the general elections here.
However, after Wednesday's governing council meeting of the IPL in New Delhi, it has emerged that South Africa is now effectively ruled out and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), another venue on the shortlist, is now the frontrunner to host the first half of the event. (No better venue than Eden Gardens, says Shah Rukh)
Bangladesh, which will host the World T20 later this month, is the other venue in fray, but UAE, who recently hosted the U-19 World Cup, is the preferred option. "We would assess the ground conditions in Bangladesh after the World T20 and take a decision of taking some matches there later. But most of the matches are likely to go to UAE," a governing council member told mid-day on Wednesday.
South Africa was ruled out, as Cricket South Africa wanted to stage the entire tournament, it is learnt. Another source said the South African market is dominated by Coca Cola, a rival to Pepsi, which is the title sponsor of IPL.
IPL to end in India
The source confirmed that the business end of the IPL will be held in India. "We can hold matches after May 12. The IPL chairman and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan also met defence ministry officials. We will get enough security after the elections are over," he said. (Also read: Won't be able to provide security to IPL matches, says Shinde)
The election commission on Wednesday announced the dates of the Lok Sabha polls which will be held in nine phases between April 7 and May 12. Counting of votes would take place on May 16.
Meanwhile, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal, talking to reporters in the Capital, sounded confident of conducting a majority of the matches in India.
"Now that the election dates have been finalised, we are working towards hosting a bulk of the matches in India. Since it is the Indian Premier League we need to accommodate as many matches in India," Biswal was quoted as saying by PTI.