The 2024 IPL season running on a normal schedule would put it on a collision course with April’s general elections. So, not for the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League, the fixture scheduling will be worked around the country’s Lok Sabha Polls.

The unknown dates

The official dates of the general election have not been set, but are expected for April 2024. With a new season of the Indian Premier League historically starting in late March, there is a clear scheduling problem.

IPL chairman Arun Singh Dhumal recently said that the full IPL 2024 schedule for the new season won’t be set until the dates of the country’s elections are finalized.

The Indian Premier League has stated that it will work with the government to avoid matches taking place on the same day that people go to the polls. There are different regional factors to take into consideration when planning the new IPL season, as Dhumal pointed out:

“We will work with the Indian government, and agencies to make sure that the league takes place in India. We are waiting for the schedule of the general to be announced and then we will plan accordingly…like which state will host what game at the time.”

A split season?

Because of India’s general elections, there is a possibility that the IPL 2024 schedule will be split. A full season of the Indian Premier League has 74 matches – 70 during the regular season and the remaining four in the playoffs.

A solution could be to split a portion of the regular season into two phases, simply providing a window for the general election. This would leave more matches per game day being played on a busier, tighter schedule.

Important workarounds

A typical IPL season starts in late March and concludes at the end of May, and all of today’s IPL matches are covered by CricTips predictions. However, the pressure to find a solution is obvious because it is a big year for Twenty20 cricket. There’s no room to push the IPL season back due to the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, which begins on June 4. 

Not going abroad

This update from the IPL chairman will at least come as a relief to fans that the world’s top cricket league will not be heading abroad. This gives fans the full opportunity to attend fixtures during the 2024 Tata IPL season.

There had been rumors that the Indian Premier League season would be played abroad to avert any head-to-head with the elections. Countries such as the UAE, Sri Lanka and South Africa were touted as potential locations. 

There has been a precedent for this, with the IPL being held in other countries before due to the Lok Sabha polls. The second edition of the Indian Premier League in 2009 was played entirely in South Africa because of the elections. 

In 2014, a portion of the league season shifted play to the UAE so that the action could take place at the same time as the polls in India. However, in 2019, the full IPL season was played on home soil during the election year. 

The IPL 2024 auction was held in Dubai in December 2023 – the first time it had been held outside of India.

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