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Buchanan still hopeful of India hosting IPL

John Buchanan, coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders, speaks at the function AFP

Not all within the IPL are convinced the 2009 season will be played abroad. John Buchanan, cricket manager of the Kolkata Knight Riders, said many within his franchise believe the Indian government will not allow the tournament to leave their shores, and will strike a compromise deal with IPL directors in the coming days.

"We're all still pretty hopeful it will be retained in India," Buchanan told Cricinfo. "Time will tell whether that's misguided or not, but the feeling here is that we will wait and see how the Indian government are going to react to this, and whether or not they will accept the IPL ultimatum (of moving the tournament abroad).

"Because of the elections and security situation it has been too difficult to organise in India to this point, but with where we are now, there is a feeling the Indian government will not want to see the tournament leave the country and could come back with some sort of compromise. Then again, if they can't get full agreement on security, there is no option but to take the tournament offshore. Whichever way it goes, the next couple of days will be pretty interesting."

Given the dramatic events of the weekend, any move to return the IPL to India this year will represent an astonishing turnaround on the part of the BCCI. England and South Africa, who have been mobilised to stage the IPL's second season, will presumably look none too kindly upon their Indian counterparts if it emerges they have effectively been used as pawns in a high-stakes game of chess with the Indian home ministry.

Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said final venues and schedules would be announced on Monday, but Buchanan warned that shifting the event overseas would rob it of much of the vibrancy of its inaugural season.

"The important thing is that it looks as though the tournament will definitely go ahead," he said, "It is such an important event for world cricket that it needs to go ahead, but having said that, if it goes elsewhere it will become a television event, rather than something more community based, like last year's tournament.

"With all the announcements at the moment it looks as though it is going to move. There is definitely a resolve from the BCCI, the IPL and the franchise owners for the tournament to go ahead, and hopefully go ahead in full rather than in a modified version"