Shaun Pollock: "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"
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Cricket South Africa (CSA) has said it is ready to host the second season of the IPL in April-May after the BCCI officially approached it with a request on Sunday morning.
"South Africa were officially approached today by the IPL officials, asking us whether we can host the event," Gerald Majola, CSA's chief executive, told Cricinfo. "We are looking at their requirements to see whether we can fulfill them. As I understand, we are one of the parties that they have approached, but for now we can say that we are ready to host the IPL. However, we expect to meet the Indian officials soon to understand the situation better."
Majola said he expected to have "positive discussions" with Indian officials in this regard over phone on Monday. Asked about the challenges that confront South Africa in holding an event of this magnitude at such short notice, Majola said: "None, as far as I can see. We have the venues, grounds and the infrastructure in place but I can give you a complete answer only after we study what the IPL's requirements are."
CSA is believed to have already placed five venues on standby with the option of holding the semi-finals and final in India.
Shaun Pollock, the former South African captain and current advisor to the Mumbai Indians, said he'd be happy if his country was chosen as the 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."
Not much, however, appears to have been firmed up yet. Andre Odendaal, the chief executive of Western Province, said financial and logistical arrangements for hosting the tournament had not been discussed by the South African provinces.
"There are six South African franchises and eight IPL franchises, so I assume that down the track there will be talks as to which team will use which ground as a home venue," Odendaal said. "But there are no details yet. All that has happened at our end so far is that we have been asked if this was possible and whether we could do it, and the answer was yes. Apart from that, we don't know a lot more. Details about finances and the like will probably be thrashed out during the week.
"South Africa is excited to help out. It fits in very well with our end-of-season activities. For instance, in Cape Town, April and May are the best months of the year. Also, our season ends on April 9, so it is good timing for us."
Diverging views emerged from officials of the franchise owners as the news of the impending relocation broke.
Some franchises favour South Africa as it is cheaper option compared to England, the other serious alternative. "If we are looking at an April start, the climate in England would be a factor," a franchise official said. "Even the TV timings, we feel, will work better for us if the matches are held in South Africa."
Senior officials from India and South Africa had earlier denied reports
that the IPL was being relocated to South Africa. The tournament's future came under a cloud after the Indian government expressed its reluctance to approve the dates, given its clash with the country's general elections.
South Africa is also expected to host the Champions Trophy from September 24-October 5 this year after the ICC board endorsed a recommendation
by its Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) to hold the tournament there.
Ajay Shankar and Alex Brown are deputy editors of Cricinfo