New Delhi, Mar 15: Once the hub of match-fixing activities, Sharjah is one of the three UAE venues selected for hosting IPL 7's first phase matches, but BCCI officials say the Board took the decision after getting assurances from the UAE government and carrying out extensive recce.
According to the Board, there was no point singling out Sharjah only as corrupt activities can take place in any venue across the world. "In India the bookies are more active too. Are there not bookies in South Africa? What guarantee do we have anywhere?" a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying in a leading cricket website.
"We can educate the players. We can create a bubble where we can secure the players' movements and them meeting people. Also, the government of UAE has told us they are going to provide us with the best of security. They have told us if we have any specific information on suspicious elements they will take swift action."
David East, the Emirates Cricket Board chief executive, confirmed the IPL was given all assurances.
"The UAE government is entirely supportive of the IPL being here and will do everything to ensure it is a hugely successful tournament," East said.
The Indian government in 2001 had barred the national team from playing at Sharjah for a period of three years in the light of the findings in the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal. United Arab Emirates will stage the initial phase of the IPL while Bangladesh was kept on standby for some of the matches by the BCCI.
The tournament is to take place from April 16 to June 1 and 16 matches are scheduled to be played across the three venues in UAE - Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
The tournament, which had to be partly shifted out of the country owing to the general elections, will return to India for the final phase from May 13 though the BCCI has sought the governments permission to stage matches in the country from May 1 itself.