South Africa captain Graeme Smith and arguably the world’s number one fast bowler Dale Steyn hailed Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Cricket for Control in India’s (BCCI) decision to stage the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in their country.
Steyn said that the Twenty20 extravaganza will popularise the sport in South Africa and will help youngsters take up to the game. “Imagine what this will do for the youngsters of my country. When I was growing up, there were no World Cups in South Africa. I was excited just by the opportunity to watch Jonty Rhodes diving all over the place on television.
Now the kids of South Africa have a chance to go down to their local grounds and watch the best players in the world playing each other. There is already a real buzz in the country after the Test series against Australia, and this is just going to make it louder,” Steyn told a leading cricket website.
Steyn, who will play alongside team-mate Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen and Rahul Dravid for the Bangalore Royal Challengers, conceded that the glitz and glamour of the first season would be difficult to replicate since the cricket season in South Africa is coming to an end.
“It will be interesting to see what can be achieved at such short notice,” he said. “The reception was amazing last year. We were really treated like rock stars everywhere we went. From my point of view, I am going to be happy to actually show my friends and family what I was talking about last year. Explaining it to them is one thing, but showing them is another.”
Graeme Smith, who is fast gaining a reputation of modern cricket’s most courageous captain, feels cricket fans in South Africa will get the chance to experience India’s culture.
“This is wonderful news for the growth of our cricket and for the growth of our country. It will also give our fans the chance to experience India’s cricketing culture.”
Smith will turn out for defending champions Rajasthan Royals, who won the title last year under the astute leadership of spin bowling legend Shane Warne.
IPL in SA will be big hit, says Pietersen
England batsman and former skipper Kevin Pietersen on Wednesday backed South Africa as the choice for second edition of the Indian Premier League and hoped the Twenty20 extravaganza will be highly popular in the rainbow nation.
Pietersen, who has been bought by IPL’s Bangalore Royal Challengers team for a whopping $1.55 million, feels the good weather and hard pitches will add to the attraction of the 37-day tournament in its new venue.
“The weather will be good, the pitches will be hard and there should be some exciting cricket with some really big scores, which is what T20 is all about.
“England would have been a great host for the tournament as well, but now they’ve made the decision to go to South Africa I think everybody will get behind it and turn it into another massive event,” the 28-year-old cricketer was quoted as saying in ‘The Mirror’.
South African-born Pietersen, who will lead the Bangalore Royal Challengers while he is playing, exuded confidence that the event will be a huge success in South Africa.
“It will be great fun. The South African public love their Twenty20 and I’m sure it will be another great spectacle, like the World T20,” Pietersen said.
“Having some family back in South Africa means I will get the best of both worlds. We’ll play in front of some passionate fans,” he added.
Vettori Would Had Liked To Play IPL in India –
“It’s disappointing it’s not in India. The guys love going over there and touring,” Vettori said; Vettori was also skeptical about how the IPL would be received in South Africa.”One of the most exciting bits about the tournament was you got to play in front of 50-60,000 people who are tremendously excited about the game,” he was quoted as saying in a New Zealand Press Association report “We probably won’t have those sorts of crowds. It will take a little bit away from it, but the important thing is the games are being played,” said Vettori, who plays for Delhi Daredevils.”It’s pretty late to be playing cricket in South Africa, but the pull of international players should make it as good a tournament as it was in India,”
“Delaying the tournament is the best thing for us, otherwise most guys would have hopped on a plane after the last day of the Test match and that can be quite tough on you,” he said.
“Now that it’s concrete I think everyone’s settled and pretty happy.”
His teammate Ross Taylor hailed the shifting of IPL venue, saying, “If you’re dead you can’t earn any money. Life’s obviously more important than earning cash.”
“I was still not sure whether I was going to go or not. If they said it was safe I would have gone and if they said no then I wouldn’t have. It’s good to be taken out of our hands and for it to be played in South Africa or England ,” the batsman was quoted as saying by SportToday.
IPL’s Relocation Disappoints Shane Watson – Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is disappointed with the relocation of the Indian Premier League to South Africa as it will deny him a chance to play the Twenty20 event in front of passionate spectators in India.
“It’s extremely sad the IPL won’t be held in India. It is a beautiful country and the people there are absolutely fanatical about cricket. I think it will definitely be slightly different,” said Watson.
The BCCI decided to shift the cash-rich event out of India after government refused to assure adequate security to the tournament, dates of which were clashing with the general elections in the country.
The 27-year-old cricketer, who was named the competition’s best player in 2008 after helping the unfancied Rajasthan Royals clinch the inaugural trophy, hopes the shifting will not disturb the spirit of the tournament.
“But it’s still going to be an amazing tournament as it was last year.” Watson, who was immediately recalled to the Australian one-day side after last year’s IPL, again aims to use the tournament as a springboard to come back into the international arena.
“The IPL’s again come at the right time of my career to get back on the track,” Watson told the Fox Sports News.