Idea of IPL franchises playing friendly matches outside India to be discussed in Governing Council meeting

Idea of IPL franchises playing friendly matches outside India to be discussed in Governing Council meeting

Three teams have already told the board that they are ready to play friendlies with Delhi Capitals also open to the idea.

Mumbai Indians, IPL
Mumbai Indians. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is immensely popular across the world. All the eight teams have their fan bases set even outside India and the franchises now want to make the Indian fans outside the country feel the connect with their respective cities. For the same reason, the franchises have expressed their wish to play the friendlies in the United States.

If the reports are to be believed, the Mumbai Indians (MI), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have already told the BCCI about their interest in the plan. Even the Delhi Capitals (DC) are open to the idea it seems. The same point is also on the agenda for Tuesday’s IPL Governing Council meeting. If it is approved, the IPL teams are most likely to play the friendly matches outside India as well.

Mumbai Indians’ idea to promote the game through IPL

In fact, the idea to play the friendlies in the US to promote the game was proposed by the most successful IPL franchise Mumbai Indians. They had also asked the Committee of Administrators (CoA) about the same but they turned the request down. “Mumbai Indians’ idea was to promote brand IPL and the game in the US and also to develop a new market for the game.

“The team would have headed to the US and also play a few games with local teams so as to attract cricket lovers in the region and get them up close and personal with their favourite stars. In fact, MI was also keen to share any revenue earned in the process. The IPL clause says that if you as a franchise play outside of the tournament, any revenue earned is to be shared.

“MI had no problem with that as the idea was to take the game to more homes and increase the fan base. MI even asked the CoA to provide the window as per their suitability. Playing local matches would popularise the sport as we all know that cricket is not followed much there and also, there are many Indians there and the franchise wanted to go and experiment and see how they can give back to the game,” the source in the know of developments was quoted as saying by Outlook India.

Interestingly, the franchises are not worried about the availability of the star Indian players who most probably don’t have a window to feature in such friendly matches due to their packed international schedule. Rather their main aim is to build a strong fan base outside India. And now they are expecting the idea to go ahead with the new officials coming in at the helm.

“There were questions on the availability of the national team players and we said that we don’t want them. We do realise that releasing them isn’t an option because of the tight schedule and the workload on them. But we aren’t looking at them. We are happy to have local domestic players.

“We wish to expand the reach of not just our franchises, but also the IPL. Hoping things will move towards this path under the new regime as we don’t really see anything wrong in this. Even teams like Manchester United and Barcelona go on foreign tours to play pre-season friendlies. Keeping our fingers crossed now that the new officials have come in,” the source further added.

When the BCCI official was asked about organising friendlies, he cleared that with multiple wishing to play these matches, the proposal will be discussed in the meeting on Tuesday. “We are told the franchises were told that if there are more than two requests we will discuss the matter and we now have 3.5 teams to be fair, so let”s see what comes out of the meeting on this point,” the official said.

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