Shaun Pollock has expressed sadness for the Indian public over the decision to relocate the 2009 IPL, but believes South Africa is well capable of hosting the lucrative Twenty20 tournament. Pollock, the former South African captain and current advisor to the Mumbai Indians, said the terror attacks in Lahore had changed his view of the security situation in the subcontinent, and suggested the decision to move the IPL away from India would be welcomed by many contracted players.
South Africa and England have been touted as possible venues for the IPL's second season, and CSA chief executive Gerald Majola - a week after agreeing to stage the Champions Trophy - has confirmed his willingness to serve as tournament host. Pollock, who is currently overseeing a training camp in Durban for eight members of the Mumbai Indians squad, said logistical and timezone considerations could weigh heavily in South Africa's favour when IPL officials make a final decision on a venue this week.
"It is sad because I'm sure the Indian public would have loved to watch the IPL live," Pollock told Cricinfo. "There was such a huge response to it last year, but I guess it is better that it's on TV and being played somewhere in the world than not at all.
"I have been to the subcontinent many times and for all the talk of risk over the years I have never felt under threat with all the security measures in place. I, like many people, had always felt that because there is such a great love for cricket, no one would jeopardise that. But the attacks in Pakistan were a real eye-opener for me. It showed that anything, even the IPL, could be targetted.
"I would be happy if South Africa was chosen as a venue. I probably know the conditions here better than anyone in the world, and that could be of use to Mumbai in my advisory role. There is a very good appetite for Twenty20 cricket in South Africa. We certainly have the people and the stadiums to put on a good event. The timezone will work too, with us only being three hours behind India."
Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association, welcomed the prospect of the IPL proceding outside of India. "Our members want the IPL to proceed provided the safety of the teams is not compromised," he said. "Given the current situation in India, the decision to move this year's event is a sensible one and will likely maximise player participation."
Kapil Dev, the former Indian all-rounder and current chairman of the ICL, criticised the BCCI for not consulting players about the relocation of the IPL's second season. "I would first take the players into confidence and take their concerns first before deciding to shift any tournament that belonged to India," he said. "The tournament was intended to be held in India, therefore the administrators of the game should have first talked to the players before venturing to shift the tournament."