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Significant stride forward for IPL

cricket Updated: Apr 01, 2009 00:27 IST
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For participating IPL teams, the period from now till the opening in Newlands (Cape Town) is like the suspenseful time between the toss and start of play. There is, across the eight teams, a crazy scramble to get ready, the task made more challenging by IPL's new location.

So, if till yesterday the issue was about locating high resolution pictures of David Warner or getting Paul Collingwood's correct jacket measurement, the focus now is also on sorting out Vettori's flight connections. And, someone pointed out, don't forget to order jumpers because it can get chilly during a night game.

Such rush in any high profile event is, as they say, part of the game. When the deadline nears, with umpires about to stride out to the middle, there are one million things to do --- from placing partner logos on team clothing to signing contracts, releasing payments, launching promotions, deciding the invite list, ordering hospitality, even down to appointing scoreboard operators and ground staff that rolls the wicket.

As teams stretch to complete arrangements, there are rumblings that the shift to SA is a setback to national pride and the event would be diminished without the buzz from frenzied fans. But the IPL's forced journey abroad is not without positives, the situation not dissimilar to the response of an alert batsman who, though surprised by a delivery that climbs on him unexpectedly, has the presence of mind to tap it over the slips to third man for a boundary.

Cricketers certainly are looking forward to travelling overseas; every player realises the benefit of performing in Durban instead of Delhi, Capetown rather than Chennai. He understands this is his chance of making it --- of moving into a league that promises instant recognition and immense riches.

The IPL will be enhanced by going global in the context of image, profile and positioning. Given its already high standards, a successful season in SA will significantly strengthen its standing as a premier sporting property. SA is not a setback, instead a significant stride forward. For the franchisees, there is an opportunity to reach out to new fans and extend brand presence beyond India. They will look to actively leverage this business opportunity — many were considering this move down the line but now, there is a chance to go down that path right away.