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The Surfer

South Africans follow sport, Indians follow stars

Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, in his blog in the Hindustan Times , ponders over why the IPL has been as successful in South Africa

Siddhartha Talya
Siddhartha Talya
25-Feb-2013
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, in his blog in the Hindustan Times, ponders over why the IPL has been as successful in South Africa. South Africans, he says, are passionate about the sport in its totality, while Indians are drawn more to personalities.
The best part is, this love for sport doesn’t restrict them to the confines of their national boundary. I was astonished when an elderly man at one of the practice grounds in Cape Town started checking out Indian sports stars with me. Forget cricket, he asked me about Sania Mirza and the dress code she has to follow, the split between Paes-Bhupathi and the golfer called “Singh” who has been doing well of late.
Peter Roebuck, writing in the Hindu, says the IPL has been more satisfying this year than its inaugural version, with bowlers playing a prominent role, veterans stamping their authority and local fans embracing the tournament.
Almost everyone was in the dark in 2008. No one was quite sure whether IPL was a romp in cricketing clothes, a frolic in a park, a gift from the gods or a significant cricket tournament. Now a galaxy of stars were signed and all of them played with their hearts.
Lalit Modi may have dreams of building a global fan base for the IPL, but Neil Manthorp doesn't think that is likely to happen. He explains in South Africa's Mail and Guardian.
There are three reasons it won't happen. First, it is a diminutive version of the game. Five-a-side soccer is cool and sevens rugby is a joy to watch - but is it the real thing ... [another] reason the IPL - in its current format - will never be more than very expensive wallpaper in the global sports village is the absurd glass ceiling placed on the playing quality of the teams

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo