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’.
The BCCI decided to shift the second edition of the cash-rich tournament in view of the recent terror attack on Sri Lanka cricketers in Lahore and general elections in India, with which dates of the tournament were clashing.
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.
The tournament will now run a week later than initially planned, from April 18 to May 24, which will reduce the participation of Pietersen and his fellow England cricketers from three to two weeks.