New Delhi, Apr 2 UNI | 4 months ago

Amid much hype - from security and venue issues to the BCCI dealing with a new leadership after the Supreme Court's diktats, the seventh edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to kickstart on April 16.

The security issues due to general elections in India mean that the first leg of the tournament will be held in the UAE from April 16-30. Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi will jointly host first 20 matches of the first leg.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the tournament opener.

Newly-appointed interim BCCI-IPL chief Sunil Gavaskar said it brought back memories of his playing days.

"I have spent a lot of time over the years in this wonderful country and it is great to see the excitement and buzz being generated prior to a tournament of this magnitude, here in the UAE," Gavaskar said in an IPL press release.

The UAE has hosted many major cricketing events in the past and David East, the Chief Executive of the Emirates Cricket Board, is confident of delivering a memorable experience in the first leg of the IPL.

"We are excited to see the best players in the world play on our shores and in front of the UAE fans. The UAE is home to sports-loving people, it has wonderful cricket facilities, and the sport is run by a body the Emirates Cricket Board that loves the game, and will work tirelessly with the BCCI to deliver a memorable experience in the first leg of the IPL 2014," he said.

"We are sure that the UAE leg of the IPL 2014 will demonstrate the UAE's ability to host major events and welcome visitors to our lands," Dr Ahmed AlSharif, Secretary-General, Dubai Sports Council, commented.

With the people of UAE really passionate about the sport, Chairman of the IPL Governing Council, Ranjib Biswal is confident that the stadiums will be jam packed and fans will throng the stands to watch their cricketing heroes.

"I want to thank the UAE government, the Emirates Cricket Board, the administrations of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, as well as the three sports councils, for their support and commitment to host the IPL. The 20 matches to be played in the UAE will feature top cricketers from all over the world. I am sure that the opportunity to witness their heroes in action will prompt them to flock to the stadiums," he said.

This is the second time that IPL will be held outside India, the entire second edition of the tournament was held in South Africa also due to security issues due to elections in 2009.

It turned out to be a big success and the IPL administrators will be hoping that the first leg of the IPL will be a big hit this time around too.

(Posted on 02-04-2014)