The 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League is likely to move out of India after Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that government will not be able to provide fool-proof security during the general elections. The matches are now likely to be played in South Africa. The IPL had been shifted to South Africa in 2009 as well because of security concerns posed by general elections. Lalit Modi was the IPL commissioner at that time. (Read: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly to help BCCI clean IPL's image)
Board of Control for Cricket in India had indicated in Bangalore last week that South Africa was the preferred venue. The decision was taken after the BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla and IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal met the Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday. "Government will not be able to provide security to IPL matches due to coming Lok Sabha polls," Mr. Shinde said. The final decision is expected during the IPL Governing Council meet on February 28 in Bhubaneswar. (Read: Pakistan miss IPL experience: Mohd Hafeez)
The ministry is reported to have informed the BCCI that the Twenty20 tournament would be staged in the country only after May 11. This would mean that the first month of the cash-rich tournament could be played in the Rainbow Nation. (Read: BCCI is talking to other boards for possible IPL venue, says Ranjib Biswal)
"We are in constant touch with franchises; we have taken them into confidence in the last two days and we held a series of meetings with them. We have made our stand clear. They appreciated our concerns and they have given us cooperation on this matter," Biswal said last week. (Read: Sports Ministry to approach home ministry over IPL issue, says Jitendra Singh)
Sri Lanka was also reported to be in line to host IPL matches in the eight-week championship in April-May. That South Africa could be a venue was hinted by Delhi Daredevils' chief coach Gary Kirsten. The former South African opener, who was India's World Cup winning coach in 2011, said his team was buying pacers "because the tournament may be played in South Africa."
The shifting of IPL matches to South Africa is also an indication of improved relationship between BCCI and Cricket South Africa officials. Is this BCCI president N Srinivasan's way of saying "thank you" to the South Africans for voting him in as ICC chairman? Interestingly, South Africa were the first to protest against the ICC revamp plans, calling the BCCI-pioneered draft proposals "fundamentally flawed."