Will Luke at the World Cup Qualifiers 2009 April 1, 2009

Waiting for the IPL

There may not be any advertising or signs promoting the forthcoming Indian Premier League but, like an impending lunch with inlaws, it looms large in the back of your conscience

There may not be any advertising or signs promoting the forthcoming Indian Premier League but, like an impending lunch with inlaws, it looms large in the back of your conscience. Here in Benoni, where Ireland are taking on Scotland in the World Cup Qualifiers, the crowd can generously be described as a smattering. Less complimentary an adjective might be paltry, for there are only 40 people on a glorious sunny day. In contrast my spies tell me there are already hordes of media, BCCI officials and IPL administrators loitering around one of Johannesburg’s more opulent hotels.

Those permitted accreditation for the IPL would comfortably outnumber the loyal Ireland and Scotland fans here at Willowmore Park. It was ever thus for Associate cricket; crowd-numbers are never enormous and it struggles to gain global coverage, though the local media from the representing countries are always in attendance and do their best to promote the game back home. Still, it remains a disappointment that a tournament as prestigious as this – and it is, for the development of cricket – is about to be dwarfed in publicity by an event whose Man-of-the-Match cheques alone could transform some of these countries’ facilities and ambition.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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