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South Africa’s minors are major IPL fans

Till a month ago, cricket in South Africa probably meant an insect; football was their preferred sport. Then, the Indian Premier League came along and now walk around any stadium and what strikes you is the number of children aged between eight and 15. Those selling team shirts confirm that., reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: May 20, 2009 02:13 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

Issac is 12, his sister Joshua nine. Till a month ago, cricket probably meant an insect; football was their preferred sport. Then, the Indian Premier League (IPL) came along.

“ [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni is my favourite,” said Issac, bobbing up and down with 4 and 6 placards as Chennai Super Kings tore into the Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowling in Pretoria on Monday. Wearing a Delhi Daredevils shirt, Joshua said she supports them “just like that”.

Walk around any stadium and what strikes you is the number of children aged between eight and 15. Those selling team shirts confirm that.

“I’m struggling to meet the demand for smaller sizes,” Sandton Cliffton, manager of an outlet at the Wanderers, said.

Earnest Ognesto, a steward at Supersport Park here, said the number of children coming for IPL matches is “30 per cent more” than for other matches.

Not that the children, for whom tickets are often cheaper, are always watching cricket. Often, they host their own version of IPL with miniature bats and balls.