With only weeks to go until the start of the tournament, the Indian Cricket Board has announced that this year’s Indian Premier League, the hottest event in world cricket, will have to be held in another country. Apparently there is a general election scheduled in India at the same time, and the government is so concerned about the danger of political violence that it doesn’t want to allow any event that could be a major security risk. Given what happened in Pakistan recently, their concern is understandable.
It is, however, a tragedy for India. Not only are the cricket fans in the teams’ home cities going to be denied the opportunity to attend games, but it will inevitably suggest to the rest of the world that India is an unsafe place to visit. What’s more, given the lack of time available, it isn’t at all clear that an alternative venue can be found in time. The tournament may not take place at all, which would probably prove a financial disaster for all involved. Jonathan Agnew is doubtless rubbing his hands with glee.
The good news is that the BCCI hasn’t given up. They are actively talking to cricket boards in other countries about hosting the event. South Africa is probably the front runner, but England is also a possibility. And that means that I might actually be able to go and see the Rajasthan Royals play live! Oh please, please let them be based in Taunton.