The Indian Premier League (IPL) might have been forced to move out of India to avoid a clash with the general election, but that hasn’t stopped the South African government from laying out the red carpet for India during its own election time.
<b1>South Africa goes to the polls on April 22 but is keen on hosting the IPL. Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday sent a representative to the country’s department of home affairs to ask about the possibility getting about a thousand visas issued much more speedily than the usual 10 days and the answer was a ‘yes’.
Hindustan Times has learnt from top IPL sources that despite England being a centre for cricket and the huge Asian population there — and also because it will like the tourist traffic in these recessionary times — IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and his team have “all but decided” on the African nation.
One major reason for this is the cooperation extended by the South African government, the CSA and its affiliated units.
“Our grounds are available, so there’s no awkward situation around timing,” said Cassim Docrat, the KwaZulu Natal Dolphins CEO. “It would be like anybody coming to me and saying they want to hire the ground. In terms of our preparation for the next season, it doesn’t affect us at all. I am convinced that getting big crowds won’t be a problem either.”
The same is not the case with England, where, while the ECB wants it, many counties are not exactly happy about the idea of hosting the IPL bang in the middle of their domestic season.
The other problem with England is the weather — it will be wet through April and much of May.
Modi was scheduled to fly out to Johannesburg on Monday night — and from there to London if need be.
“We can’t say anything with certainty yet as talks are still on with both and no deal is signed,” said a BCCI official. “But though we’d like it to be England, practically speaking, South Africa is a better deal. We’ll know by Tuesday.”