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'Corruption-free' IPL in India is BCCI's hope.

Muscat: With the success of the first phase of Indian Premier League in the UAE, the organisers are hoping that the tournament in India will be free of corruption following the spot-fixing controversies that plagued the event last year. Sunil Gavaskar, the interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said the IPL officials had educated all players to report any suspicious approaches. "I believe that the presence of the integrity officers is evidently a big plus. It is a big plus because earlier anybody could call in case there were any approaches but I don't think people were confident about it. "Now the integrity officer travels with every team. So the younger player or the most susceptible sometimes, is the uninitiated player. We have given them all the education that is necessary," Gavaskar said after the IPL's governing council meeting that was held to discuss the UAE leg held from April 16 to 30 in three cities. Gavaskar stressed that though no guarantees can be assured, efforts are in place to conduct the tournament smoothly. "The human nature being what it is, nobody can give any guarantees. We have put some measures in place and certainly the way the UAE leg went, it has given us some confidence," Gavaskar said. "If it carries on the same way, we will have this India-leg also free from any off-field controversies," he said. Ranjib Biswal, chairman of the IPL, praised the UAE officials for the success of the tournament. "The first part of the Twenty20 extravaganza has witnessed an unprecedented success in terms of fan turnout, television viewership, digital and ticket collections," Biswal informed. According to him, 82 per cent tickets were paid compared to 56 per cent in South Africa when the IPL was hosted there in 2000. "The initial success has given us a lot of confidence for the India leg. " We firmly believe that the steps taken to match and set new standards of fan involvement in the IPL have been enormously successful," Biswal said. The television viewership has been able to sustain the numbers from last year for the first 20 games. Markets like Assam (81 per cent), Rajasthan (35 per cent), Hyderabad (26 per cent), Delhi (19 per cent) and Bengaluru (18 per cent) have shown rise in the TVRs over the last year. The rise in fan interest has been multifold, as suggested in the numbers garnered on IPL's digital properties. The official IPL website ( registered a rise of 10 million visits in comparison to 2013 in the first 10 days of the tournament. The IPL page on Facebook ( has grown two folds. The 'Likes' have risen from 3.8 million to 9.1 million, and are still increasing. The IPL on Twitter (@IPL) has gained 360,000 new followers in the first two weeks. IPL's presence on smart phones, feature phones, iOS, Android and Windows platforms has captured the imagination of the cricket fans the world over. The IPL Fantasy league now has 850,000 registered active users. "Pleased as we are with the brilliant response in the UAE, our next aim is to make the IPL more appealing to the fans back home. I wish for the cricket fans in India to get involved in the game by flocking to the stadia, watching the tournament on TV and availing of all the rich information and content we have to offer through our digital platforms," Biswal added. To get in touch with the reporter:

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:May 4, 2014
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