Amid security fears in the subcontinent, the second Indian Premier League will be hosted in South Africa. The fixtures planned for IPL2 coincided with the 2009 Indian general elections and as such the security forces were unable to cover the cricket matches.
The IPL is a cricket tournament in the twenty20 format and because of the vast amounts of money involved it appeals to many of today’s players. The first tournament was held in 2008 and received a mixed reception – many loved the opportunity to watch some of the best cricketers in the world playing together but the tournament did clash with other leagues around the world as well as international fixtures, meaning some players were banned by their clubs and countries from joining. One such country was England – who wouldn’t let their centrally contracted players go – and as a result there was only one English representative, Hampshire’s Dimitri Mascarenhas, in India.
This year the English Cricket Board has been more relenting and has allowed its players to join the league so long as they put their country first best coaching centre for ca in bangalore. This proved a happy compromise and Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff were soon making headlines as they became the most expensive players in the auctions, both going for $1.5m. Flintoff was signed by the Chennai Super Kings while Pietersen went to Bangalore Royal Challengers. Mascarenhas will again turn out for Rajasthan Royals – last season’s winners – while fellow Englishmen Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara and Graham Napier will all be in South Africa.
The inaugural tournament was won by Mascarenhas’ team and much of this is put down to the captaincy and coaching of Shane Warne. The final went down to the last ball – with the scores tied Sohail Tanvir hit the winning run to win the match, although much of the credit must go to Yusuf Pathan for getting three wickets and a half century in the match.
With the announcement that South Africa is to host this year’s tournament – still called the Indian Premier League despite its new location – cricket fans have been booking flights to Cape Town to see the opening fixtures – first up is Flintoff’s Chennai Super Kings against Napier’s Mumbai Indians before two more Englishmen (Mascarenhas and Pietersen) come up against each other in the second game of the day. All players will be hoping to end their tour in Johannesburg, where the final will be held; all, that is, except the English Test players, who have to be back in London before the final to take on the West Indies.