NEW DELHI - The world's most popular franchise-based T20 league once again saw sell-out crowds across Indian venues but there is buzz the league might move to foreign shores in the next edition.
With India's general elections slated in 2019, reports suggest that IPL-12 will be played in Dubai. This is not a new phenomenon: the league was organised in South Africa in 2009 while UAE played hosts to one-third of IPL matches in 2014 - both being election years. "If it clashes with those dates (of the elctions) then we will not get security. Then for that period we will have to move it out overseas," IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said.
Meanwhile, Rupert Mudroch's Star India repackaged the glitzy IPL after striking a $2.55 billion deal with the Indian board ahead of season 11. From commentary in six languages, to tailor-made feeds to different regions and 120 commentators on board, the nation sampled a different style of sports broadcasting.
While Sony, official broadcasters of IPL in its first decade, accused Star of fudging the viewership figures which they claimed were higher during their feeds, many hailed their approach. "Star has actually got into regions, has got the languages right and also got some Star power. And now we have got the analytics. No one has done it like us," former Australia star Dean Jones, a commentator with Star Sports, said.
New Zealand's Kane Williamson was the only foreigner to lead an IPL side this season after Australians Steve Smith and David Warner were barred following a ball-tampering scandal. Williamson, a late captaincy replacement for Warner, led Sunrisers Hyderabad from the front with his 735 runs in 17 matches. His ability to use star players like Afghan teen sensation Rashid Khan at opportune moments won him praise. - APP/AFP