As most Cricket fans will know the whole Indian Premier League programme for this season has just been moved from India to South Africa at the last minute. The IPL became extremely popular on TV worldwide in it’s inaugural season last year. The aim was to get the world’s best players playing together in city based teams, in a Twenty20 format. The idea was based loosely on the development in football of the English Premier League as a the most watched football league in the world to have individual teams each with a worldwide fan base with players from many countries.
Because of political issues in India, with the elections taking place at the same time and recent terrorist attacks on cricket in the sub-continent, a last minute decision was made to move this years competition. South Africa was chosen for a number of reasons including the weather, the availability of world class grounds and it’s infrastructure to handle the influx of players and fans.
So now there is a brilliant opportunity for cricket fans to come for a fantastic unscheduled holiday and see the world’s greatest cricketers in action. The first game is at Newlands in Cape Town on April 18th and the series goes on for six weeks. Because of Indian TV scheduling there will be two game start times – 4pm and 8pm. This will fit very well with a holiday schedule as it leaves most of the day free for sightseeing and other activities in the Cape Town region – one of the world’s greatest tourist cities.
Teams and venues are not finally confirmed but as well as Cape Town there will be matches in Durban, Centurion (between Johannesburg and Pretoria), the Wanderers (Johannesburg) and possibly Port Elizabeth. The current strong rumour is that the current champions Rajasthan Royals captained by Shane Warne and including South African captain Graeme Smith and Twenty20 English maestro Dimitri Mascarenhas will be the Cape Town based team. All the major players from around the world will take part including Kevin Pietersen, Ricky Ponting and Freddie Flintoff as well as all the Indian stars.
Tickets will be cheap, at least by English or Australian standards. For the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa last year, good seats were R80 (£6) and grass bank seats only R40. Beer will be just over a pound a pint. On top of this cheap flights can be got – KLM just started a sale today with return tickets from London to SA (via Amsterdam) for £436 (all-included) lots of other direct flights are available.