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IPL to keep fixtures flexible owing to Indian general elections

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THE money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) will likely begin its next season on March 22, but will keep its fixtures flexible to accommodate the country’s general election, the national cricket board announced last Thursday (22).

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings, led by 42-year-old former India captain MS Dhoni, will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match of the popular and lucrative T20 league.

But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) only announced the season’s first 21 games, tentatively scheduled through to April 7.

“The BCCI will work with local authorities to finalise the schedule for the remainder of the season, taking into account the polling dates,” it said. Elections in India – the world’s largest democracy, with 1.4 billion people – are gargantuan endeavours, with polling across several weeks.

The Election Commission is expected to announce polling dates sometime in the next month.

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All fixtures announced so far – less than a third of the 74 matches played in 2023 – will take place in India, despite earlier seasons being played outside the country when they clashed with elections.

The IPL has proven a cash bonanza for both the BCCI and top players.

Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins both set records in the tournament’s most recent player auction in December.

Starc was snapped up by Kolkata Knight Riders for `247.5 million (£2.3m), setting an all -time IPL auction record, while World Cup-winning skipper Cummins went to Sunrisers Hyderabad for `205m (£1.9m).

 

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