March 24 2009 19:20 PST
The Second Season of the DLFIndian Premier League will be held in South Africa after narrowly edging out England to acquire rights to the games. The deal was finalized after IPL Chairman and CEO Lalit Modi met with Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola last night in Johannesburg. Where exactly in South Africa is yet to be determined, but with opening day a little more than three weeks away, that information should be revealed in the coming days. Lalit Modi, though disappointed that the games won't be held in India, is content with the games being held in South Africa.
"The South African public loves Twenty20 cricket and CSA successfully hosted the inaugural World Twenty20," Modi said. "Both these factors weighed heavily in South Africa's favor, and we look forward to a successful and exciting tournament being held at venues throughout South Africa."
What is known about the sites is that Cape Town will host the opening ceremonies which begin on April 18, eight days later than the original start date. 59 matches in all will take place in South Africa despite England seemingly having the inside track to the games. The dealbreaker came when IPL officials voiced concerns over the effect England's springtime weather might have on the tournament, which debunks the theory that weather was not going to play a role in the selection of the venue. England also faced issues in the form of cost, scheduling and the likelihood of conflict between television rights holders. South Africa's chances were further boosted after the country's government got actively involved in wooing the IPL, throwing in assurances on security and speedy clearance of visas for players and officials. That was enough to convince Modi to make South Africa the IPL's temporary home.
"A lot of factors were considered by us while evaluating the final choice for the host venue," N Srinivasan, secretary of the Indian board, said. "However, in the final analysis I think it was the South African weather, which prevailed and tilted the balance in favor of the Rainbow Nation."
While the Indian government has been livid about the change despite the security concerns that are exasperated by general elections, the IPL's decision to move to South Africa has been greeted with relief by the league's franchises and players. Muttiah Muralitharan, who plays for Chennai Super Kings, said it was the right decision for the league because "the game must go on, else cricket would die". Amrit Mathur, the chief operating officer of the Delhi franchise, said the team was happy that the issue has been settled.
"We are very happy and with the clarity on venues, we can proceed to make the necessary arrangements," Mathur said.
So what do you guys think about the Indian Premier League in South Africa? Do you think it is a good site for the games given the circumstances? Drop us a comment and let us know what you think.