Saturday, March 28, 2009

IPL – An international competition?

I don’t think anyone was too surprised when boss Lalit Modi opted for South Africa as the hosts of this year’s Indian Premier League.

As I look outside now from my Yorkshire home, all I can see is grey murky skies, while a fierce wind is bringing huge across raindrops, which are smattering all over my window. It is hard to imagine that in just a few weeks the English cricket season will begin.

The chances are that much of the opening rounds of games will be lost to the weather. Conversely they could be played under glorious early spring sunshine. But that’s the problem with the English weather, you just never know!

With an already crowded domestic and International fixture list, there is no room for manoeuvre should IPL games be lost to the weather. Therefore I think, on this occasion, they made the right choice in picking South Africa.

But what for the future of the IPL?

The switch outside of India, albeit for security reasons, has now made it a truly global game (if it wasn’t already).

After getting a taste for the IPL won’t South Africa fans want too see them again? Similarly English cricket supporters, who only just missed out this time, may feel they should have the chance to stage the tournament?

Talks for an English Premier League were started, stalled and then stopped altogether last year, so why not make the IPL a truly global competition, with different host countries each year? It would make more sense than to have a different 20/20 Premier League for each country, when would they fit the games in for starters?

Teams like Kevin Pietersen’s Royal Challengers Bangalore could be become a truly global brand, with fans across the world adopting them as their favorite team. This could pacify the money men who would fear a drop in TV revenue if the game continued to be played away from cricket-mad India.

I personally can’t wait for the IPL to start, but it will also be interesting to see whether the South African fans take it to their hearts. If it is played out in front of packed stadiums with millions tuning in at home, it may not be the last time the IPL is played abroad.

Guest Post by Tam Mallow