The head of world cricket has hailed the decision to hold part of the Indian Premier League in the UAE this year.
ICC chief executive David Richardson welcomed the decision of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to stage at least 16 matches in the UAE during April and May.
The move away from India has been forced by the general elections in country, scheduled to take place between April 7 and May 12.
Richardson said: “The BCCI’s decision to stage the first part of the IPL 2014 season in the UAE is great news for the people of the UAE and the region. It will complete a remarkable season of cricket in the UAE, which has already seen the successful staging of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013 and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014.
“This news comes on the back of the on-field success of the UAE national team which has qualified for both the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and has the potential to propel cricket’s profile to new heights in the country.”
Richardson, who is based in the UAE at the ICC headquarters in Dubai Sports City, said the ICC was ready to support the successful staging of the IPL 2014 matches in its home country.
“Recognising the importance of the integrity of the competition, the ICC will provide its full support for the matches in the UAE, including through the provision of anti-corruption services. It will also be a good opportunity for both the BCCI and the ICC to share knowledge and experience as we both strive to deliver memorable events to cricket fans around the world.”
It is the second time in seven seasons that the IPL has been forced to find alternative locations because of a clash with elections. In 2009 the whole tournament was played in South Africa.
The IPL is the world's biggest T20 tournament and attracts many of the best cricketers. At this year's auction, the most sought after players included India's Yuvraj Singh, England's Kevin Pietersen and Australian David Warner.
A total of 154 players were sold, out of which 50 were from overseas while a total of 178 players will feature in the Pepsi IPL 2014.