London Mayor eyeing ambitious bid to bring IPL to English shores

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The National Covid Memorial Wall in London
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(Reuters) - Cricket fans in England could get the chance to see the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma clearing boundaries on a regular basis, with London mayor Sadiq Khan set to spearhead a campaign to bring the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the English capital.

Following its inception in 2008, the IPL has achieved stratospheric growth, developing into one of the world's most lucrative annual sporting properties, pulling in millions of viewers each season.

Khan, who is seeking re-election next month, has vowed to work with authorities to make the IPL the latest league to stage matches in London, following the success bringing Major League Baseball and the National Football League to the capital.

"This is part of my plan to build a better London after the pandemic," Khan said.

"I know Londoners are hungry to see more of the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant and, with two of the world's greatest cricket grounds in Lord's and The Kia Oval, London is ideally placed to host IPL matches.

"I will never stop banging the drum for investment in our city and bringing the Indian Premier League to London would not only guarantee a home crowd for every country but boost tourism and generate much-needed revenue to help get our capital back on its feet."

The IPL has been staged outside India in the past, with South Africa hosting in 2009 and the UAE last year.

The 14th edition of the cash-rich T20 league kicks off later on Friday with Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore facing Rohit's Mumbai Indians.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)