Former South African cricket board chief Ali Bacher has urged the ICC to create a permanent window for the Indian Premier League in its calendar as the Twenty20 tournament has become the “number one event in world cricket”.
“This is the number one sporting event at the moment in world cricket. I would like to suggest that the International Cricket Council give a permanent window for the Indian Premier League every year,” Bacher, who was the CEO of the United Cricket Board which later became Cricket South Africa, said.
The former South Africa captain said IPL has redefined cricket marketing by successfully managing the huge logistical exercise of shifting the event here this year after a clash of dates with general elections prevented its organisation in India.
“The second season has redefined marketing in cricket. I have never seen such coverage and support for any South African sporting event like this before. It is a new product in South Africa and has been overwhelmingly accepted,” he was quoted as saying by the IPL’s official website.
“I have never seen a sport that has been so extensively marketed. I would like to congratulate the Indian Premier League for doing so well even when they had such little time to organize the event here in South Africa. When Cricket South Africa hosted ICC World Cup in 2003, I took two-and-a-half years to organize the tournament, what the IPL has done is commendable,” Bacher added.
But for all its success in South Africa, Bacher said he wants to see the IPL return to India next year because of the electric atmosphere created by fans there.
“I would like to see the Indian Premier League being held in India next year because there are billions of cricket fans who follow cricket there like no other country does,” he said.
“I was there for the semis and the final of the inaugural edition of IPL and I have seen it all — packed stadiums, electrifying atmosphere and the celebration of cricket in its new form,” he added.