IPL twist to SA’s India spat?
Newlands to see more IPL action (File)
Cape Town - Possible hosting of the lucrative Indian Premier League for a second time next year could turn into surprise bargaining ammunition for South Africa in their summer series-scheduling dispute with Indian cricket authorities.
The Times of India newspaper has reported on Wednesday that the IPL Twenty20 extravaganza may find an alternative home on our shores again - IPL 2009 was successfully hosted in South Africa - in autumn next year (April-May is the intended tournament window) because of India’s Lok Sabha general elections which are tipped to coincide with the IPL.
“BCCI mandarins have informally discussed alternative venues, but a clear picture will emerge once the election dates are announced,” the report said, quoting “board insiders”.
Any move to transfer the IPL to South Africa would be a turn-up for the books, given the current, much-publicised impasse between Cricket South Africa and the BCCI over the schedule for India’s supposed headline tour here at the height of the looming season.
The BCCI, which is not on best terms with new CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat
, insists that CSA issued a provisional, extended itinerary prematurely several weeks ago, and wants to slash the number of Tests from three to two and also greatly trim the one-day international agenda.
Talks are planned shortly to try to resolve the spat, with CSA saying it will make no further comment on the delicate subject until their completion.
But if the BCCI does find itself seeking a “Plan B” for the IPL in 2014, South Africa is unsurprisingly considered the most attractive and logical alternative.
It stepped in at the eleventh hour to host the 2009 spectacle, which was well-attended locally, whilst from a television viewership/time-zone point of view South Africa is also well-suited to mass-market Indian needs.
Matches were held countrywide last time, with autumnal weather not too much of a handicap and even southernmost Cape Town able to host games in the early phase of the tournament.
The paper quoted an official as saying: “The Lorgat issue is there but SA are still hot favourites ... it’s a tried and trusted location.”
Should CSA be required to help grab the IPL baton, it stands to reason that bilateral cricketing relations would have to start mending fairly soon, and South Africa would be in a much more powerful position to insist on fattening the keenly-anticipated India tour once more.
Any shortening of the trip is going to have severe financial consequences, by all accounts, for many of South Africa’s cash-strapped franchises.*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing