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Cricket: IPL stays in India, to begin on March 23

Cricket: IPL stays in India, to begin on March 23
FILE PHOTO: A cricket fan shows his Indian Premier League (IPL) qualifier 2 match ticket outside the stadium in Kolkata May 24, 2013. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri   -   Copyright  Rupak De Chowdhuri(Reuters)
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By Amlan Chakraborty

NEWDELHI (Reuters) – This year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) was spared a logistical minefield when India’s cricket board announced on Tuesday that the entire Twenty20 tournament will be held in the country from March 23.

Scheduling of the cash-rich IPL had become a challenge this year with India’s general election due by May, also the month when the 50-overs World Cup gets underway in England.

The 2009 IPL was held in South Africa while part of the 2014 tournament was staged in the United Arab Emirates, both because of elections, and a similar prospect loomed large over this year’s competition.

“Based on preliminary discussions with the appropriate central and state agencies/authorities, it was decided that the 12th edition of the world’s most popular and competitive T20 tournament will be … played in India,” the BCCI said in a statement.

“The detailed schedule will be finalised in consultation with the appropriate authorities.”

Australians Steve Smith and David Warner will return to the IPL after missing last year’s tournament following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

They are serving year-long bans for their part in the Cape Town incident in March and were barred from the 2018 IPL.

The Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad paid $1.67 million (£1.3 million) each at last year’s IPL auction for the services of Smith and Warner.

The eight-team league with owners including India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta has attracted top players from leading cricketing nations.

Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the most successful IPL teams having won the title three times each.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed Osmond)

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