<
>

Reports of IPL move to South Africa denied

Senior officials from India and South Africa have denied reports emerging on Friday that the IPL's second season will be relocated to South Africa. The tournament's immediate future has been in doubt since the Indian government expressed its reluctance to approve the tournament, given its clash with the country's general election.

South Africa was confirmed this week as the new host venue of the Champions Trophy, and a South African official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Cricinfo there was a "strong chance (the IPL) could come here, too". Another, the South African Cricketers' Association chief executive Tony Irish, confirmed he too had heard the rumours swirling around Newlands regarding South Africa hosting the IPL. "All I know is that there is speculation that this might be happening," Irish said.

But that view was disputed by other officials from Cricket South Africa and the BCCI, who insisted that India remained the preferred venue. "There have been no talks," said CSA chief executive Gerald Majola. "It is definitely a rumour." Majola also denied reports in the South African media that representatives from CSA and the BCCI were due to meet in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.

"There is no meeting," Majola continued. "I am in Cape Town today, but I am at the Test match. If you're watching it on TV you will see me there. I don't know where this is coming from. There is no meeting happening."

Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, also denied the story while officials from several IPL franchises said they were unaware of any such news. "There is absolutely no truth in this," Modi said hours after a BCCI meeting on the IPL in Mumbai on Saturday.

India remains the favoured host country for the IPL, and officials were hopeful of gaining ratification from home minister P Chidambaram of their revised schedule next week. But in a portent of what could be, Modi said contingency plans had been drawn up to ensure the tournament's survival. "We have multiple iterations for multiple schedules with multiple possibilities," he said. "We are taking every eventuality into account but let us not pre-empt anything."

Incidentally, eight members of the Mumbai Indians squad are in South Africa, for a training session in Durban ahead of the IPL. They will be trained by Shaun Pollock, who was recently signed on as the team's mentor-cum-advisor, and Jonty Rhodes, the team's fielding coach.