Indian Premier League March 2, 2009

IPL likely to move to March in 2010

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Polls force tweaks to 2009 IPL schedule
  • The IPL tournament committee has said it will reschedule matches that coincide with the general elections in India which start next month. Kolkata Knight Riders' home match against Bangalore Royal Challengers on May 13 falls on the same day the city goes to polls.
  • "There's no other way out. We have to reschedule the matches that are clashing with the Lok Sabha polls," IPL tournament director Dhiraj Malhotra told PTI. "Not just in Kolkata, there are few more matches that are clashing with the poll dates. I'm now in the process of sorting them out. We will make an announcement in a day or two."
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The BCCI is working with various national boards to create an unofficial window for the IPL in March 2010 that would enable almost all Test-playing countries to release their top players for the Twenty20 tournament. The tweak in the IPL calendar -- instead of the current April-May schedule - will also ensure that the tournament doesn't clash with the World Twenty20 in the West Indies from April 23-May 9.

Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, told Cricinfo that all the national boards are working together for a clear window next March. "The dates are still not firm, but we are working on this," he said. Modi said that next year's IPL is likely to be held almost immediately after India's tour of South Africa in February, 2010.

Apart from India's tour, almost all the other Test-playing countries are scheduled to be engaged in various series during February-March according to the ICC's FTP - Pakistan v England, Australia v New Zealand and West Indies v Zimbabwe. But many of these engagements are now expected to wind up by early March to give the IPL an open run.

The upcoming IPL season, which kicks off from April 10, has been hit by a scheduling clash that leaves most Australian players available only for the last two weeks of the tournament. England stars like Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, who are expected to make their IPL debut next month, are also free only for the first three weeks. Among the national boards that are keen to see the IPL take the March slot is the ECB, which can then let its players take part in the tournament for a longer period as the English county season usually starts in mid-April.

"I believe we are close to a settlement," Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, told the Guardian. "We are pleased with where things are going and would like to see the IPL have a clear season [free of a clash with international fixtures]." The ECB have already committed to letting their Test players take part in the next IPL for three weeks.

Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo