Virat Kohli vs Mahendra Singh Dhoni in IPL Exhibition Match in USA?

Updated: 28 May 2016 16:52 IST

Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni may play exhibition matches for their respective Indian Premier League franchises in the USA, as part of an exhibition tour.

Virat Kohli vs Mahendra Singh Dhoni in IPL Exhibition Match in USA?
Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore has been in stellar form in 2016 Indian Premier League, while MS Dhoni's Rising Pune Supergiants finished seventh. © BCCI

New Delhi:

Virat Kohli could be pitted against Mahendra Singh Dhoni in exhibition matches for their respective Indian Premier League franchises in the United States, in a bid to cash in on the popularity of IPL among Indian diaspora.

According to highly placed sources in the BCCI, three franchises namely Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiants have expressed their desire to play some exhibition matches in the USA where there is a sizeable Indian and South Asian population.

"The matter is expected to be discussed at the IPL Governing Council in Bengaluru before the start of the final match on Sunday. The venue is tentatively Houston," a senior BCCI official said.

"However the dates need to be chalked out. Earlier, it was being discussed it would happen in the window available between India's tour of Zimbabwe and West Indies. But it could now be held in September also. All three teams are expected to play against each other. Obviously, major attractions will be Kohli and Dhoni," the official said.

"Houston is one centre that has been zeroed in as it having multiple centres will be a case of logistical nightmare for a short trip of exhibition matches."

For BCCI officials, it would be an opportunity to test waters in the US market which had remained untapped so far.

"In the US, T20 is the only game that can be marketed because of its duration. If we have to squeeze in a mini-IPL next year, this is the time to send the popular franchises like MI, RCB and check what's response of NRIs and Indian diaspora.

"If the response is good, we can think about expansion. We can also harbour hopes that sponsorship market in the US will open up."

Highlights
  • RCB, RPS and MI may play exhibition tour in USA
  • Matches may be played in September
  • Houston has been selected as the tentative venue of the matches
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