The Indian Premier League (IPL) matches could soon be played in London in the coming years if London mayor Sadiq Khan’s wishes come true and his talks with the concerned authorities and franchises materialize.
The mayor of Britain’s capital has expressed interest in having IPL games in London in near future and said that he is in talks with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) for hosting the tournament. He said that Surrey County Cricket Club has also shown interest.
Talking to the press, he said, “I’m really excited to be working with Surrey County Cricket Club and others to try to bring the Indian Premier League to London.”
“I want us (London) to be the undisputed sports capital of the world,” said Mr. Khan, who is to stand for re-election next month for the second term in office, while at a children’s cricket training ground in southwest London on 9th April.
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The mayor has previously worked with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox(fan-favorite baseball teams) in 2019, resulting in two Major League Baseball games being played for the first time in Europe.
As an avid cricket fan, he now wants India’s top players to play his favorite game in his city.
“I am keen to see (Virat) Kohli coming to London, not just with the India team this summer but to come with his team: Bangalore. I’d love to see Chennai here with (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni or Mumbai with (Rohit) Sharma,” he added.
“We are speaking to the IPL, we are speaking to teams in India, but we’re trying to persuade the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] and others to have the ambition we’ve got for our city,” Sadiq Khan said.
Pressed on a timescale, Khan said there was no reason that friendlies could not take place later this year, saying his IPL vision extended beyond London.
“The first step will be the exhibition games. And they must be Covid-safe, of course,” he said.
Khan himself has tried for a cricket club as a 15-year-old.
“Indians love cricket, we love cricket, we love Indians. We want this to be a bridge between India and London and Surrey deserves huge credit for being pioneers and with their vision to get IPL here,” Khan said.
There is no indication that the BCCI has plans to take IPL matches out of the country and even in a post-Covid world the logistics of such a move could prove difficult.
“If you’re a cricket fan who lives in Europe or North America it’s really cheap and easy to come to London, it’s one way of bringing tourists back to our city.”
“It won’t just be London benefiting, if we get the IPL here, we can see matches taking place at Edgbaston in Birmingham or at [Emirates] Old Trafford in Manchester or at [Emerald] Headingley in Leeds,” Khan Added.
It is worth mentioning that the 14th edition of the globally famous T20 league is scheduled to kick off next Friday with Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore facing Rohit’s Mumbai Indians.