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The Cape fits

'South Africa can make a success of IPL'

Bob Willis Posted 24th March 2009 view comments

South Africa was always going to get the nod over England as the new host of the Indian Premier League.

It's unfortunate that the ECB's big-hitters were away in Guyana and Australia when the matter of finding a replacement host was coming to a head, but realistically there was only one option - mainly because of the weather.

Cape Town: Weather was a key factor in the IPL's decision

Cape Town: Weather was a key factor in the IPL's decision

There is no way of guaranteeing even a single rain-free day in England between the new scheduled dates of April 18 and May 24, and the prospects for South Africa are much brighter.

There are other reasons Cricket South Africa's claim was a more attractive one, too: the timezone there will make it easier to broadcast the games in Indian prime-time.

Ideally, of course, the tournament would have remained in India where it belongs, but with elections imminent and lingering nervousness following last year's Mumbai attacks I don't think that was feasible.

Bob Willis
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And, as many people have made mention of, the cost of hiring all the workers needed to make the tournament a success - from freelance cameramen to ice-cream sellers - will be far cheaper there than it would be here.

And I also think there would have been major problems with an international tournament going on in England while the ECB was trying to sell tickets for the two May Test matches against the West Indies.

That is not to say the ECB should be criticised for throwing England's hat in the ring.

In fact, I think they should be looking to get a lot closer to the IPL and the Indian Cricket Board in general. There is a huge financial factor to be considered when there are Indian players on view and broadcast rights to be sold.

Ideally, of course, the tournament would have remained in India where it belongs, but with elections imminent and lingering nervousness following last year's Mumbai attacks, I don't think that was feasible.

Supporters

It's a shame both for the Indian supporters, whose passionate support of their local teams provides a good deal of the IPL's spectacle, and for the players.

Andrew Flintoff has been quoted as saying part of the attraction for signing up was the chance to play in India, and the length of his and Kevin Pietersen's involvement - indeed that of all five England Test players bought up - will now be a week shorter.

But wherever cricket is played in the world you will find Indian supporters coming out in numbers, and there are certainly large pockets of Indian population in Durban and East London, which are both on the list of scheduled venues.

On top of that, there is much more of an appetite for one-day cricket than Test cricket in South Africa, and the World Twenty20 there in 2007 was very well attended.

That was in no small part down to sensible ticket pricing. If the organisers can get that right again I see no reason why the IPL cannot still be a huge success.

Is Bob right? Should the ECB be looking to forge closer links with the IPL? Let us know what you think about this - and the decision to switch it to South Africa - by filling in the feedback form below...

Comments (4)

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Nick Lawson says...

If the IPL had been staged in England, it would have caused havoc with our county games. By playing it in South Africa, at least we will get more opportunities to view the fantastic ground at Newlands, Cape Town. I watched a lot of the Test from Newlands last weekend on Sky. That must be the most beautiful cricket ground in the world, it has everything ! The weather was great, the cricket was great (Aussie's getting stuffed), and Sky's coverage was excellent as per usual.

Posted 14:41 26th March 2009

Jay Vyas says...

i think bob is absolutely right.personally i would have prefered uk as a venue but the weather .. well we know it in april, don't we? other point Bob pointed out is very important. people havn't got money , english cricket grounds charge. it is beyond belief. no one can afford such gate fees. people come if the ticket price is reasonable. in india 80,000 crowds are normal mainly because of the ticket prices. i hope they get it right in SA

Posted 12:03 26th March 2009

Brett Crighton says...

I cannot agree more with what Bob is saying. I think the weather was ultimately the biggest deciding factor as both South Africa and England both have the infrastructure to host the tournament on such short notice. I just hope they get the ticket prices right and that it is affordable to the general public. With South Africa hosting the Confed Cup, British & Irish Lions and the ICC Champions trophy this year plus the Tri-nations and Super 14, we are definately not starved of high quality live sporting events. Just a build-up I suppose to the big one next year.... 2010 SWC

Posted 08:21 26th March 2009

Kathy Immelman says...

Nice pic of Newlands, Cape Town. In the morning you can count every rock and tree on Table Mountian this time of year. You're almost guaranteed good weather there in autumn, and I mean good. When my folks lived there I always found an excuse to visit around Easter time. The summer heat is over and the winter rains haven't started yet. As for Durban, the summer heat will have gone over by mid-April, otherwise it can be pretty hot and stuffy and damp. The extra week's delay will be no bad thing in this regard. Kathy

Posted 09:32 25th March 2009

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