The battle between the two Indian skippers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli is all set to resume, this time in the United States. In a bid to cash in on the popularity of the Indian Premier League among the Indian diaspora a few teams are expected to play exhibition matches in the United States.

According to highly placed sources in the BCCI, three franchises namely Mumbai Indians, RCB and Rising Pune Supergiants have expressed their desire to play some exhibition matches in the US where there is a sizeable Indian and South Asian population.

“The matter is expected to be discussed at the IPL Governing Council in Bengaluru before start of the final match tomorrow. The venue is tentatively Houston,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on Saturday.

“However the dates need to be chalked out. Earlier, it was being discussed it would happen in the window available between India’s tour of Zimbabwe and West Indies. But it could now be held in September also. All three teams are expected to play against each other. Obviously, major attractions will be Kohli and Dhoni,” the official said.

“Houston is one centre that has been zeroed in as it having multiple centres will be a case of logistical nightmare for a short trip of exhibition matches,” he said.

For BCCI officials, it would be an opportunity to test waters in the US market which has remained untapped so far.

“In the US, T20 is the only game that can be marketed because of its duration. If we have to squeeze in a Mini-IPL next year, this is the time to send the popular franchises like MI, RCB and check what’s response of NRIs and Indian diaspora.

“If the response is good, we can think about expansion
We can also harbour hopes that sponsorship market in the US will open up.”

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