IPL goes to South Africa (Lead)

March 24th, 2009 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) The second edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) will head to South Africa, it was confirmed Tuesday.
IPL chairman Lalit Modi and Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola finalised the schedule at a meeting in Johannesburg. IPL is now likely to be held from April 17, instead of April 10 as scheduled.

Modi and Majola are scheduled to address a press conference later Tuesday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to shift the Twenty20 tournament outside the country after state governments failed to assure security for the event that clashed with general elections.

The possible venues for the event will be Durban, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Port Elizabeth.

Apparently, even before Modi left Mumbai Monday night, it was more or less decided that South Africa would be the ideal choice and not England for the 45-day, 59-match, Twenty20 cricket league.

The South African government is believed to have promised all help in putting up the show in the country.

CSA has already got in touch with the South African government and intimated them of the urgent requirements to host the event.

The government is believed to have promised to rush more than 1,000 visas for the eight teams in time for the event and the country’s tourism board has also lent its support to the bid.

The South African domestic season is coming to an end April 9 and the grounds will be free to hold the matches. CSA has already told various provincial unions around South Africa to keep their venues in prime condition to host one of the eight teams.

The rainy season was the major obstacle in hosting the event in England.

Apart from the rain, broadcasting was another problem for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

IPL will overlap with England’s domestic series and the Test and ODI series between England and West Indies, the telecast rights of which are with Sky Sports. Its rival Setanta has the overseas IPL rights, which will bring the two into direct confrontation.

The telecast rights in South Africa are more straightforward with Supersport holding the rights to IPL as well as international cricket in the country.

“We have good stadiums, good facilities, good weather and good crowd for Twenty20 cricket,” Majola said.

He also said South Africa’s coming election April 22 are not a concern as they last only one day as compared to the month long period in India.

The cost of holding the tournament is reportedly cheaper in South Africa and it is also closer to India in terms of time zone.

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