Of all the cricket South Africa has hosted over the last decade at home, no party has come to town here like the Indian Premier League (IPL) did back in 2009. To many here, who have good memories of the 45-day cricket carnival, it was the one-of-a-kind road show.
A good 10 years after that experience, Cricket South Africa (CSA), a cricket body beleaguered with their own Global Destination T20 League becoming a non-starter, are looking for a repeat of 2009.
Nothing on paper yet, but the Indian cricket board is already busy working out contingency plans, much in advance, to shift its multi-million dollar property overseas if need be when the time arrives. Unless early elections are called for — a possibility that cannot be entirely ruled out as yet — India is gearing up to witness a full-scale nationwide ballot between April and May.
In such a scenario, the BCCI will be left with only two choices. If the entire tournament has to be shifted out of the country, the IPL will have to be moved to South Africa, as was the case in 2009. If the tournament has to be partially shifted out of the country, the IPL will have to be moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as was the case in 2009.
Either scenario is a possibility, say sources, as much as the possibility of an early election ensuring that cricket’s hottest property stays at home. The BCCI is already in knots engaging with this prospect. Nonetheless, CSA is excited about it already. In fact, South Africa too is expected to host its next general elections in 2019, the same year as India. The locals here expect the country to go to polls anytime between March and July.
Yet, if you thought Cricket South Africa would be coordinating with the local government here to work out their schedules accordingly, that’s not been the case yet. Instead, the cricket authorities here are more focused on the general elections in India that will be conducted the same year, and pray “India go to polls in April and May”.
For the BCCI, the 2019 IPL, potentially speaking, is already a logistical nightmare. The ICC 50-over World Cup in 2019 begins on May 30. In line with the Lodha Committee recommendations, as directed by the Supreme Court, the Indian Board will have to ensure a 15-day window between the IPL and the World Cup. That aside, there’s the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulation window to follow, which demands that participating nations arrive two weeks in advance.