The IPL Moves Out of India

Some sense prevails. The Indian Premier League will be moved outside of India, though it’s not clear where. South Africa appears to be the leading contender, because it has eight grounds to host the eight teams and its strong native cricketing culture will do the tournament proud. (Andrew Miller has a wonderful column on why England will not be able to host: broadcaster disagreements; political ill-will between the BCCI and the ECB; a broken county structure that is dangerously unequal.)

Those who disagree with the decision — which include none of the franchise owners, apparently — will say cricket has been betrayed. The BJP, an opposition party, has already chimed in, according to the New York Times:

The league’s announcement drew political repercussions on Sunday. The main national opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has consistently attacked the governing Congress Party-led coalition government for being weak on terrorism, criticized it up for failing to guarantee security for cricket.

This is beyond silly. As Shah Rukh Khan has said, elections are a bigger priority. Given limited sources — and, in India, we all know how limited ‘limited’ can be — policymakers have to prioritize, and it’s not at all clear to me why security forces should be handed over to a private sporting event, rather than a public event of national importance.

Sambit Bal notes that this could unhinge cricket tours as nothing else has. To host and to tour are seen as the most basic part of cricket’s current schedule (and business model). Players have to adapt to different conditions and cultures, and it’s what makes cricket, despite its small roster of member countries, a truly international game. We now might seen the host-guest relationship upended: Pakistan, for instance, may play ‘host’ in England, just as Johannesburg may now host, um, the Kolkata Riders. It’s a true test for global loyalties, but if one game can handle it, it’s cricket — as evidenced by the strong Indian support seen in, of all places, New Zealand.

One thought on “The IPL Moves Out of India

  1. […] latest move to off-shore the tournament to South Africa, though, is an interesting experiment. The IPL began with a big first challenge: will cricket fans […]

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