Ali Bacher, the former managing director of United Cricket Board (later Cricket South Africa), knows a thing or two about organising events. He led the organising committee of the 2003 World Cup in Johannesburg. Bacher, 66, took time out to have a chat with Hindustan Times.
What have been your early impressions of the IPL?
IPL’s marketing has been excellent. Compare this with the Confederations Cup football in June in South Africa.
There are quite a lot of editors who have blasted the South African federation about the lack of promotion of the event. The month of May will be very crucial for the IPL.
The matches come inland — Johannesburg is 6000 ft above sea level and Centurion is 5000 ft above sea level.
Winter starts in May and it can get cold, sometimes the temperature can go to zero degree Centigrade.
How would you compare the IPL and the 2003 World Cup, where you led the organising committee?
The two are entirely different. The IPL has been smart strategically with overseas players within a team. The 2003 World Cup was different and you cannot compare that with anything.
Should there be a window for the IPL?
Yes, definitely. It should be in the international calendar. There must be 4-5 weeks of IPL and nothing else so that all the top players are playing.
Is the presence of South Africans in IPL teams the reason for big turnouts?
It is not the only factor. I don't think I have seen any event in South African sport with such good marketing. Firstly, IPL is a new event and secondly, it is flush with and resources to market it.
Do you see T20 as the means to expand cricket globally?
The fact is that cricket today is played between very few countries at the highest level. You need to globalise the game and the product that could be successful is T20. 50-overs and Test cricket are too long.
Who from your days would have made it big in T20?
I played with some of the great players in the world. Barry Richards would have been great in T20, Mike Procter, Eddie Barlow, Graeme Pollock all would have been great players of T20.