Friday, April 4, 2014

Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 — Preparations in full swing

After the Supreme Court hearing on Mudgal commission’s report about the spot-fixing scandal in last year’s Indian Premier League, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has now shifted its focus to the upcoming season.

With the first match of the tournament — between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders — just two weeks away, interim BCCI chief Sunil Gavaskar and IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal addressed the media in Dubai on Wednesday.

Gavaskar and co to take call on Sundar Raman

This was the first time both individuals had jointly addressed a press conference, after the apex court appointed the former India skipper interim BCCI president on March 28 to handle IPL-related functions till a final verdict on the fixing fiasco. Biswal’s job is to look after the day-to-day functioning of the league, and he will report to Gavaskar.

Gavaskar — who has played a number of matches in the United Arab Emirates — said he was excited at the prospect of having IPL-7 matches in the Middle East.

“I have spent a lot of time over the years in this wonderful country and it is great to see the excitement and buzz being generated prior to a tournament of this magnitude here in the UAE,” Gavaskar said.

Biswal thanked the UAE for showing interest in holding the first-leg of the cash-rich Twenty20 league.

“I want to thank the UAE government, the Emirates Cricket Board, the administrations of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, as well as the three sports councils, for their support and commitment to host the IPL. The 20 matches to be played in the UAE will feature top cricketers from all over the world. I am sure that the opportunity to witness their heroes in action will prompt people to flock to the stadiums,” he said.

The Emirates Cricket Board has a proven track record in hosting significant cricket series and tournaments, and recently organised the ICC Under-19 World Cup. Its director Omar Al Askari said he was looking forward to successfully hosting the IPL matches in the country.

“The venues in the UAE have hosted some extraordinary international matches recently, and I am certain that everyone can expect some unforgettable cricket, in the UAE leg of the Pepsi IPL 2014,” he said.

With preparations in full swing across all three cities, the online sale of tickets will commence on Thursday. They will also be available at selected Lulu Hypermarkets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah from April 6, while stadium box-office sales will start on April 10.