The Indian Premier League is now over and by all accounts, South Africa did a marvelous job in hosting the event. I conducted a mini search around the blogosphere to find out what people were saying (writing) about the new pimped out version of cricket. Here are some highlights:
The Indian Premier League, while entertaining and educational, has also been a terrible inconvenience for South Africa.
It hasn’t helped that the organisers have been arrogant, rude and demanding. Lalit Modi, Sony Television, IMG, and the all the League’s sponsors owe the South African public as well as Cricket South Africa and it’s provincial affiliates a massive debt of gratitude that stretches far beyond giving cheques to schools, money to school kids and offering some attractive woman an audition in a Bollywood movie.
Cricket SA and South Africa saved Modi’s backside by scrambling to get the event hosted here in such a short time after the Indian government’s failure to provide guarantees over security for the tournament. It was a monumental logistical achievement that spoke volumes for the IPL’s organisation and for South Africa’s patience – which was tested enormously.
The five-week cricket bonanza had seen some of the biggest Bollywood celebrities and movie stars, like Shilpa Shetty, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, and Shah Rukh Khan of Kolkata Knight Riders setting up temporary home in South Africa.
IPL chief executive Lalit Modi described the five-week championship as a “huge success”.
“The past five weeks have been amazing. Ticket sales for the tournament were sold at a rate never seen before for any event staged in this country,” boasted Modi.
The event was attended by President Jacob Zuma, who praised the organisers for having faith in South Africa to host the event.
“The games have revitalised the economy, with about one billion rand (120.7 million dollars) being spent in the country in the past five weeks” said Zuma.
India was going to the polls, raised a security concern and before you could say “Howzzat!?”, the IPL was relocated to South Africa. And now we find ourselves on the eve of the climax. And there’s only one thing we can say for sure about the IPL: Yep, you guesseid it, it’s about the money. And it’s a good thing too. Copious amounts of money have not always mixed well with sport to achieve results that benefit more than an undeserving few.
Yet, the IPL seems to have had that effect. Eight million rand (Dh3.54m) will be given away as part of the IPL Help Educate and Teach scholarship programme; South Africa’s profile as a country to host big sporting events will have got a much needed boost ahead of the football World Cup next year; and Most of all, to my mind, young Indian cricketers have benefited. Not only from playing alongside greats like Warne and Fleming, but even from playing on foreign soil.
The IPL belongs in India and I hope IPL III returns home. As for all else, kaa-ching: Count the money!