South Africa was on Tuesday named as the host for the second edition of the Indian Premier League which has been shifted out of India because of security apprehensions.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola announced the news formally in a press conference in Johannesburg. The decision to hold the lucrative Twenty20 tournament was taken after a meeting between Modi and Majola at an undisclosed venue.
“We are very happy to confirm that South Africa will host the 2009 Indian Premier League,” IPL chairman Lalit Modi said in a statement following a meeting with Cricket South Africa.
The tournament will be held between April 18 and May 24, a delay of about one week from the original schedule of April 10, 2009. Modi thanked CSA for agreeing to host the Twenty20 event in such a short notice.
“We would like to thank Cricket South Africa very much for the support they have given us over the past few days, which has helped us to come to this decision,” said Modi.
“And we look forward to a successful and exciting tournament being held at venues throughout South Africa,” Modi said in the news release.
Six venues have been identified for staging the eight-team tournament and the matches will start at 4 pm IST and 8 pm IST to make it convenient for Indian television viewers back home. The tournament will feature 59 matches as planned and the fixtures will be announced shortly.
South Africa pipped England as the venue after the BCCI decided to shift the tournament outside India because of security issues in view of the general elections.
“The organisers can be assured that they have the full support of CSA’s structures and the South African public to stage a successful tournament,” said Majola, CEO CSA, during the press release.
“This is a great compliment to both CSA and our nation to be shown this confidence in our ability to hold one of the world’s top sporting events at short notice,” continued Majola.
England was initially tipped to be the front-runner but the wet weather there during April and May swayed the IPL officials to consider South Africa as the preferred venue.
Another reason for England’s chances receding is the assurance from South Africa government and CSA officials that the tournament will receive full support.
South Africa was considered to be a better option because the cost of running the tournament would be substantially less than in England and their domestic event would have concluded by the time IPL began, sources said.