The BCCI has earmarked April 5 as the starting date and May 21 as the day of the final for the 2017 edition of the IPL. Both matches will be hosted in Hyderabad, as per IPL norms, with the defending champions getting the rights to host the opening and final match of the tournament. A senior BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that the dates were subject to confirmation from the Lodha Committee, which has been put in charge by the Supreme Court of India to oversee all the board's activities.
If the dates are confirmed, the tournament will be held less than a week after India and Australia finish the final Test of their four-match series in Dharamsala, scheduled to end on March 29. Additionally, the IPL final will be played 10 days before the ICC Champions Trophy, which starts on June 1 in England. The Lodha Committee had recommended a 15-day window to separate India's next assignment after the IPL. However, the BCCI had told the committee that this would not be possible in 2017.
The decision was taken at the IPL governing council meeting in Delhi on Tuesday. It was also decided that the players' auction will be hosted on February 4 in Bangalore. "We have to set up a calendar and, assuming that we get all the approvals from the Lodha Committee, we will go ahead as per our plan," the official said.
Confirming the dates, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said the BCCI will also make sure venues in Maharashtra can host IPL matches, unlike this year when a court order forced matches moved out of the state, which suffered a severe drought. The Bombay High Court had ruled that it was not suitable to hold matches at grounds which consumed a lot of water. "We will have water harvesting technology at stadiums in Maharashtra to counter drought threat in the state," Shukla said after the meeting. "We will ensure that we can generate our own water to maintain stadiums."
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo