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Playing entire WIPL in Mumbai being contemplated by BCCI

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is contemplating holding the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) in Mumbai completely, an experiment that will see an encore of last year’s IPL, the league phase of which was totally held in the city. The decision has not been formal as yet but a member of the IPL Governing Council spilled the beans on the plans.

“That is certainly an option. We have seen how successful the IPL was last year and we are certainly considering the proposal,” a member of the IPL Governing Council told Cricbuzz on Wednesday ahead of the IPL mini-auction in Kochi. The five-team WIPL, being launched this year, is tentatively scheduled for March 3 to 26 with the IPL following it from April 1.

That the Mumbai option is being explored seriously came to light when the BCCI officials did some due diligence and inquired about the feasibility of staging it in the city with the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). Multiple BCCI and IPL officials have got in touch with the MCA to see whether the experiment can be worked out.

A reason for the exploration of Mumbai option is that it will curtail a lot of travel. The WIPL is still an unknown commodity and the BCCI is not sure how it will be embraced by the stakeholders – mainly the broadcasters and the franchises. While the tender for the media rights is out, the BCCI is yet to announce how it will go about selling the teams. Half a dozen parties, including some popular IPL franchises have evinced serious interest but they want to see if the league will be financially viable, if not exactly profitable.

The Mumbai plan is a new addition to the two other proposals that the BCCI was initially considering and discussed at the BCCI AGM in October. One is about selling the teams zone-wise and holding the matches at the non-IPL centres like Dharamsala/Jammu in North, Pune/Rajkot in West, Indore/Nagpur/Raipur in Central, Ranchi/Cuttack in East, Kochi/Vizag in South and Guwahati in North-East.

The other option was to have the games at venues that currently host the IPL. Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata are the shortlisted centres. The AGM authorized the BCCI office-bearers and IPL Governing Council members to finalise the plan for the 22-game league and collectively the office-bearers and IPL officials seem to have added Mumbai option to the project.

The format, according to the AGM note: “Each team wip plays with each other twice during the season. The team finishing at the top of the table after the end of league matches will directly go into the finals, while the team finishing second and third will play the eliminator after the end of the regular season. The winners of the eliminator will qualify for the final.”

Selectors pressed into service

Meanwhile, in a late development, the BCCI asked the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee members to watch the second round Ranji Trophy games. The communique was sent to the BCCI at the last minute and the selectors could reach the venues a day late.

While chairman Sharma and Harvinder Singh are in Delhi where a few games are taking place, Debasis Mohanty has traveled to Kolkata for the Bengal-Himachal game while Sunil Joshi is in Mumbai for the Mumbai-Hyderabad game. There is still no information about the interviews for the new selectors but it is expected that the new committee will pick the team for the series against Sri Lanka which starts in Mumbai on January 3.

Source : Cricbuzz