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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.
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.