‘Lalit Modi inconsistent, IPL decision a snub to England’

March 25th, 2009 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 25 (IANS) Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi has shown inconsistency by first appearing to favour England and then abruptly pitching for South Africa as the venue for his displaced cricket tournament, the British media complained Wednesday.
Accusing Modi of seeking to play the English and South African boards against each other in a race to host the IPL, the Guardian said: “His public hints to a hungry global news media about its likely destination have prompted speculation to swing wildly back and forth.”

“When ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) chairman Giles Clarke celebrated in Sydney with the World Cup-winning women’s team on Sunday, England were being talked of as favourites.

“By the time he landed in London yesterday morning and headed to Lord’s for a reception in their honour, Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola was organising a press conference to declare victory,” the newspaper said.

The Daily Mail, in an article titled “IPL snub to England in favour of South Africa yet another damp squib,” said ECB Chief Executive David Collier was highly confident Sunday that the IPL would be coming to England.

“But for all the ECB’s insistence that they have a very good relationship with the Indian powerbrokers, Modi has again left them dangling like a puppet on a string.

“The climate and the lack of permanent floodlights at English grounds were said to be the ‘overwhelming reasons’ why South Africa was preferred, but anyone could have told the IPL that it can be a bit nippy and showery in April without England being encouraged to go to the trouble of hastily drawing up a proposed schedule for the 59-match event.”

“While Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, was briefing the media at Lord’s on Tuesday morning about this country’s ability to deliver a successful IPL tournament, the competition’s organisers were already putting the finishing touches to a deal with the South African board,” the Daily Telegraph said.

Clarke reportedly spotted Modi’s tactic and refused to enter a bidding war, telling the paper: “If they want to stage it in South Africa, it’s their tournament. I do not regard this as a competitive situation… we’re not banging down anyone’s door.”

The Times, which had carried an editorial encouraging England to host the IPL, said Tuesday: “The IPL cheerleaders, in particular, will be relieved to perform their scantily clad gyrations in warmer climes than Old Trafford in April.”

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