Other than the now common reasons that helped South Africa clinch the IPL deal ahead of England, the organisers will find another favourable factor that will leave them pleased with the decision.
And that’s the 22-yard-strip in the middle, which would be far more conducive to T20 cricket than in England at this time of the year. As against the damp and moist wickets in England, the wickets in South Africa will be comparatively hard and bouncy, offering minimal lateral movement.
Given that big scores are central to the IPL’s scheme of things, with spectators more interested in seeing every ball flying over the ropes than in watching wickets tumble, a situation where bowlers took centrestage would not have been too well received.
“We had a clear directive for preparing wickets in the inaugural season of the IPL. The wicket had to be batsman friendly, with good bounce and carry and minimal lateral movement to encourage strokeplay and big scores. In that light, South African wickets would suit far more than the English ones,” said Daljit Singh, the BCCI’s Grounds and Pitch Committee chairman.
Dinesh Mongia, the former India player who has played both in England as well as South Africa, couldn’t agree more.
“It will be early spring in England in April and the wickets are normally moist and damp. The wickets in South Africa are relatively firmer and don’t offer much lateral movement,” he said.
Nevertheless, not all is smooth going. The domestic season in South Africa is in its final rounds, and with the winters fast approaching, the wickets could be worn out come April.
“We also faced the same situation last year when the wickets were worn out at the end of the season. We had to make a lot of effort to spruce them up and make it suitable for the T20 cricket. I am sure South Africa too will do a good job with wickets,” he added.