Dubai: The decision of hosting IPL VII across possibly three venues drew a tepid response from the franchises, though most were relieved that the suspense over the issue has finally ended.
While a majority of the eight teams along with the sponsors had given thumbs up to the UAE as venue, the uncertainty over the second phase of it somewhat dampening their spirits.
The speculation over the choice of the offshore venue over the past two weeks had often kept them in the dark, and some of them were taken by surprise when Gulf News informed them that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were to announce the venues on Wednesday itself.
“It looks like the governing council has gone ahead with Plan B should the state governments decline to provide security during the second phase of IPL between May 1-12. One only hopes it can be held in two countries now,” one of the top franchise officials said on conditions of anonymity.
While Bangladesh had emerged as the sole favourite in case of one off-shore venue hosting 16 matches, the endorsement of all but two of the franchises and sponsors played their part in sealing the first half in favour of the UAE.
“We have told the BCCI before that the UAE is better suited,” Venky Mysore, Chief Executive Officer of Kolkata Knight Riders said earlier. “We have to look at it from a sponsors’ standpoint as well.”
While the huge expat Indian population is likely to ensure good crowds at the stadiums for the two-week window, multiple flight options between the UAE and most Indian cities and the short duration of the flights could lure more Indians to combine a holiday or a weekend break in Dubai with a couple of IPL matches thrown in.
Speaking to Gulf News over phone, Mohit Burman, a co-owner of the King’s XI Punjab franchise, said: “From what I have heard, it should be good news for the large Indian diaspora who live there. The King’s XI Punjab is certainly looking forward to playing in a month’s time.”
Incidentally, the UAE have had a few corporate link-ups with the high-profile league in the previous years. The Dubai-based Emirates airline had been shirt sponsors of King’s XI Punjab and the erstwhile Deccan Chargers for a season each.