The Indian Premier League (IPL) caravan rolled out here with the eight teams, and top Bollywood stars, parading through the city marking the beginning of the 43-day Twenty20 razzmatazz.
The eight IPL teams brought the players in colourful tableaux, passing through various points in the city.The glamour touch was provided by Bollywood team owners Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty. The enthusiastic locals waved at them from either side of the roads.
Kolkata Knight Riders star Sourav Ganguly was hopeful that this second edition of the IPL will be successful event.”I am sure that people will come to watch entertaining cricket. We’ll try to provide quality cricket to South African fans.”
Delhi Daredevils’ Australian recruit David Warner was excited to be a part of the event. ‘We are having fun. It’s exciting to here and play alongside some of the greats of the game. The atmosphere is electrifying,’ he said.IPL chairman Lalit Modi said one of the most challenging aspects of the league organisation was getting the schedule right.
‘It was a big challenge for us to bring the IPL here. My team finalised the schedule within 48 hours of arriving in South Africa. We started out having to schedule a league season of 56 games with each team playing the other seven on a home and away basis – plus three days of play-offs – in eight venues over a total of 37 days,’ Modi said.
There had to be an equal number of games per team in the main centres, no conflict with other major sports and cultural events and team and television production travel schedules had to be taken into account,’ he said.Expressing his pleasure at the way things had worked out, Modi also lauded local authorities.
‘Government at national, provincial and local levels had been exceptionally accommodating, while the Cricket South Africa had welcomed the IPL with open arms and made its world-class stadiums available. ‘Modi believes holding the DLF IPL in South Africa will bring with it tremendous economic benefits. ‘If we look at some of the key statistics, it is clear to me that the economic benefits should be significant.’
Former South Africa Test player Jonty Rhodes, now a fielding coach with Mumbai Indians, said the entire country is looking forward to the event. ‘As a South African, I’m really excited that IPL is taking place here. A great deal has been happening in the country and we all are looking forward to it,’ he said.