Cape Town awaits IPL invasion

2009-04-14 16:25

Cape Town - Cape Town is readying for the biggest celebrity influx of the year as the off-field stars of the Indian Premier League converge on the Mother City.

As a popular holiday destination and film-shoot location, Cape Town is no stranger to the rich and famous, but with the glamorous Twenty20 tournament due to start on Saturday, the city is set for a different sort of invasion.

The eight teams in the Indian competition are owned by some of the biggest Bollywood stars and richest people in the world, who will stay at Cape Town's new five-star hotel, One and Only.

Officially opened by local hotelier Sol Kerzner just two weeks ago, One and Only was built with celebrities in mind, and extravagant rooms cost between $610 and $3 880 per night in the low season.

The IPL task team are camped at the hotel as the tournament approaches, and confirmed that celebrities were expected to arrive from Tuesday.

"All the franchise owners, Shah Rukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta, the Ambanis, will arrive today," organisers said.

"The only exception is Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya, who will come next week as he first wants to watch his Formula One team, Force India, compete in the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai."

Khan is one of Bollywood's biggest stars and owns the Kolkata Knight Riders, while Shetty is co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals and a former winner of Celebrity Big Brother.

Fellow actress Zinta is part-owner of the Kings XI Punjab franchise and will jet in from Port Elizabeth where she has been watching the team train and attending the fourth ODI between South Africa and Australia.

Business tycoon Dhirajlal Ambani is the head of the fourth-richest family in the world, and owns the Mumbai Indians through his conglomerate Reliance Industries.

If that weren't enough, the various wives and girlfriends (WAGS) of the players due to compete in the IPL opening weekend will add extra sparkle around Cape Town.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen will return to his homeland on Thursday with wife Jessica Taylor, a reality TV star who recently competed in the English show Dancing On Ice.

Bollywood actress Lakshmi Rai is expected to spend some time in Cape Town watching India's heartthrob captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with the duo rumoured to be dating.

Celebrity watchers will hope Andrew Symonds's girlfriend Katie Johnson, recently voted Australia's top WAG in an online poll, will add some Australian flavour by following his exploits with the Deccan Chargers.

And there's the local contingent, with Jacques Kallis' model partner Shamone Jardim and actress Jeanne Kietzmann, girlfriend of Dale Steyn, set to represent the host nation at gatherings set to dazzle South Africa's fairest city.


  • Mark - 2009-04-15 07:02

    All this glamour and glitz and world recogntion is great for Cape Town and SA. I as a cricket lover am looking forward to it.However there is a very dark cloud around world cricket and it's approaching very fast. We must not forget why this tournement is being held here. That very well used word, SECURITY. India could not guarantee the players safety and it had nothing to do with their elections. The ICC World Cup is due to be played on the Sub-continent in 2011. This will not happen and the reasons are obvious. One can say then let's go play somewhere else. That is a short term solution. The reason that Indian Cricket is so so strong is because of the money pumped in by the Indian Business. If international Cricket is not played in India then I doubt whether that money will continue to be available. If the security problem is not confronted and sorted out then World cricket will die. This is not just doom & gloom but reality. In the meantime enjoy the cricket. I kow I will

  • Darralyne - 2009-04-15 10:14

    I love cricket. I have since I was a young teen. We have tickets booked for one of the games in Durbs. It is going to be AWESOME. Go Chennai Super Kings!!!

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