Because of security concerns following the terror attack against the Sir Lankan cricket team in Lahore last month, one of the most lucrative sports franchises, the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Twenty20 cricket, is having to go abroad for this year’s competition. And the choice is a straight one between England or South Africa.
I am pretty certain that, for most of the viewing public in the Indian sub-continent, there can only be one place to host the event – and that is England, the home of cricket. Many of them will have grown up dreaming of playing or even just watching a game at Lords or the Oval. So, if this new form of league cricket taken from the street game has to go anywhere, it should be here in the United Kingdom.
In addition, we already have the facilities, organisational manpower and a passionate fan base that will generate a huge amount of interest here too.
With 59 matches scheduled between 10 April and 24 May, hosting the IPL would also greatly help the economy in London in the present downturn, by bringing in cricket fans to take up empty hotel rooms, increasing restaurant bookings and boosting visits to other tourist destinations. It would also enhance London’s status as a great sports location for future events. So hopefully a package can be offered to the IPL to make them feel happy to come over to England.