South Africa has edged out England to be named host nation of the 2009 IPL
So, after a month long dilly-dallying by the arsehole Indian government and all the permutations and combinations of making elections and Indian Premiere League matches go simultaneously, we finally have a decision. Though the league has got postponed by 1 week, I am extremely relieved that atleast its going on. And given the severe time constraints, it needs to be seen that whether this year's IPL will possess the bells and whistles of 2008.
England, the other option as venue for IPL faced issues in the form of cost, scheduling and the likelihood of conflict between television rights holders. The G20 meeting scheduled for next month and Marathon Race on 28 April also gives enough reasons for security forces to have a headache.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, along with air tickets.
It will be the first time ever that a domestic tournament will be held abroad from start to finish.But, I differ that IPL is not merely a domestic tournament. It is a life-altering phenomenon in cricket. It is domestic only in the sense that it is controlled by the BCCI, which also benefits the most from it; but it has felt like an unstoppable force, with the power to affect every aspect of international cricket. In so many ways, it already has. And that's why the attention of the cricket world has been riveted on the discussions, or rather the lack of them, between the IPL's organizers and the Indian government over the security arrangements.
On the face of it, the relocation is a huge setback for the IPL. It was a tournament founded on the concept of city loyalties, and the finest aspect of the first season, apart from the quality of the cricket, was the response it generated from local fans. The money was made from television, but the real success of the tournament was felt in the stands. It was impossible to watch a game in the stadium and not be infected with the new kind of fervor and enjoyment these games engendered. Taking the games away would be to deny them their natural habitat.I watched 3 matches in the stadiums last year - Delhi Daredevils Vs Bangalore Royal Challengers, Delhi Daredevils vs Kings 11 Punjab and Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians- in that order.I can safely say it was the most exhilarating experience I have felt in all these years of cricket watching. It was not that it was the first time i was watching cricket matches in the stadiums,but its just the environment set up before, during and after that match which simply takes your breath away.
Its extremely unfortunate I will not be able to watch matches at Kotla (in delhi) time around, and with the slight possibility of me not here in India next year, the thought has saddened my heart even more. Wish I can regain my IPL days again some time in the future years. Sigh !!!