Sunday, March 22, 2009

"South African" Premier League

I'm choosing to ignore Australia's dismal performance for now.

Let's talk Indian Premier League.

Insert obligatory comment about the passage of time: it really doesn't seem like a whole year ago we first saw a cricket in such a... dazzling... light.

It was amusing but it didn't take long to lose interest. Sure, Ricky Ponting wore a black and gold costume (uniform doesn't say enough) and Shane Warne proved he's still ace, but it's only Twenty20, and the whole thing went for too long.

It really was a tournament of very little substance.

The best part of it, in my opinion, was seeing the likes of Ponting and Ganguly playing side by side; something county cricket followers would be familiar with, but we haven't got an Australian equivalent.

But a lot of things have changed in the last twelve months.

India has been subjected to a horrific terrorist attack.

The recent attack in Pakistan saw made us realise that our beloved sportsmen are not immune to the instability of the world.

The 2009 IPL will coincide with federal elections in India.

If I was a cricketer I wouldn't want to go. As it is several Australians have pulled out of the competition. Though citing other reasons, security must have been a factor and a big one.

The Indian government have said they cannot provide extra security because of the elections.

"Due to the attitude of the government that it cannot provide security for the tournament, we are forced to take a decision to move the IPL out of India," the country's cricket chief Shashank Manohar told reporters.

I commend the BCCI for this. It would have been easy to turn a blind eye and reap the reward and profit, despite the risk of attack.

South Africa is the likely host for the IPL, with England a second alternative.

I wonder what implications this will have for the league's profits.

An integral part of this tournament is interpellation - Indians identify with the IPL, it's their tournament. Their celebrities own the teams, those celebrities are often filmed in the crowd celebrating or lamenting the performance of their team. The spectacle and the glamour, from the player auction to the season launch to the costumes; it is India.

In turn, atmosphere at Indian cricket matches is something to behold, and I believe assist to sustain the interest in this event. They are an immensely lively bunch and it goes hand in hand with the extravaganza of the IPL. Again, it is their tournament. Will it be mimicked in South Africa? No.

There is a 3.5 hour time difference between the two countries. Granted this is not as big as if it was being held in England, but it will still affect prime time viewing in India (and make no mistake, this tournament is held to be broadcast in India).

Take away these patriotism factors - will the Indians lose interest if tournament seems to become South Africa's? My Indian blogger friends are far more qualified to comment on this than me, but it makes me wonder.

While all these factors are interesting to consider, none of it really matters. What matters is the safety of the cricketers and subsequently the safety of the people around them who may in turn be affected (security guards, by-standers etc).

There can be no doubt the BCCI are doing the right thing here. If that means the IPL dies, which is unlikely even if this season goes badly, so be it.

I also commend South Africa for being ready to mobilise with this.

It's cricket. We're there for each other.

14 comments:

Oomby Dave said...

Can you imagine, if there was an attack nw matter how small in india on an international player it would be the same fate for Pakistan, they cannot afford this. I support South Africa getting the role, easier for me to get to and I suppose another reasons it's going there is because theres a huge Indian population over there :)

Amy said...

Although it could still be a stunt by Lalit Modi to induce a backdown by the Indian government... sounds like he's trying to do exactly that. In any case, even if the government does wish to back down, security isn't going to materialise out of thin air.

I agree completely that part of what makes the IPL fun for the first few weeks (after a while, it becomes a tad dreary) is the crowds and the support. Indian fans probably get a kick out of seeing celebrities there as well. So moving it to South Africa is going to harshly impact on that. It's being thrown around that it'd be a made-for-television event, which is, I suppose, the next best thing.

David Barry said...

I also commend South Africa for being ready to mobilise with this.

Would they do it if they weren't going to make money out of it? I mean, I would like the IPL to continue existing, but if there's going to be a fight between England and South Africa over who hosts it, I don't think it'll be because they're both super-altruistic.

cricketanalysisdotcom said...

Sure the IPL is all about money, not pride, but no matter, I love the tournament anyway. There's 10 and a half months a year for the more traditional stuff...let's hope it stays that way I guess.
The Indian crowds made the tournament meaningful, so it's disappointing from that standpoint, but I'm glad they did the right thing by putting security first. And South Africans will probably turn up for the tournament in big numbers anyway.

Arzak said...

I am in favor of moving the tournament to South Africa at least the players would be safe their. Recent attacks in Pakistan on the Srilankan team could have wiped off a whole generation of cricketers.

Secondly there are always talks about giving security to the team’s equivalent to the head of state but in reality we have seen how nincompoops the organizers/administrators can be in arranging the security.

I am not sure how successful will the tournament will be this year but just imagine when people can be up to watch England play West Indies in a test match till 2AM in this part of the world! surely IPL has a more lot of entertainment to offer. Specially people like Haydos, Warne, Lee and the legends.

12th Man said...

I commend the BCCI for this. It would have been easy to turn a blind eye and reap the reward and profit, despite the risk of attack.

This clearly shows that the BCCI is only bothered about money and wants to prove to the Indian government that they will make money irrespective of whether the event is held in India or not.

My only doubt is what kind of fan following do they expect in South Africa or England for the Chennai Super Kings or the Delhi daredevils or the like- the teams which will contain 7 Indians in them.

Doesn't seem to me like a lucrative idea. I will blog about this topic this week.

missjane said...

wrt to television and broadcasting, I heard on the ABC today that regardless of location, they want the games played for afternoon and evening broadcast in India.

Rob said...

The BCCI are saying its 100% England. The IPL is due to start on 10 April. There is a reason we do not have Test matches in England in April: its either cold, raining, snowing or windy. Usually in combination. The wickets will be like sponge and the outfield sludgy. Madness.

YellowMonkey said...

Well I think they should move it to England. In any case, I think the benefits of player development far outweigh that of short term financial interest. At least it shouild, anyway.

http://blogs.livemint.com/blogs/silly_point/archive/2009/03/23/2009-indian-premier-league-overseas-a-generational-opportunity-for-india.aspx

Amy said...

There's no way they could disregard something as completely threatening to the chances of matches actually being carried out as weather. It's the IPL - we don't want the players to be hanging around in the changerooms looking out the windows to check whether it's stopped raining. The point of T20 is to be fast, eventful, and certainly NOT slowed down by bad weather.

In my mind, there's almost no decision to be made. South Africa is likely to be the only real choice they have. How would the ECB work around county cricket and organise the IPL in so short a period of time?

Rob said...

Today (24th March), it looks quite nice outside. Sunny, almost spring like. Go outside and you need a coat. It is just too cold and wet (hence SA got chosen). There will be some fall out though -- the BBC were categorically told it was the UK -- don't be surprised if it ends up back in India.

cricketguru said...

And with that we came to the end of the closing ceremony. Akon, the laser-act, the drum-shows, Miss IPL Bollywood contestants' fashion parade, Katrina Kaif and Eddie Grant. Ohh it was a star stacked show, amazing indeed!
live cricket score commentary

cost per head said...

that is so interesting I did not know anything about the South African Premier League, actually I did not know it even existed

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