Wed, March 25, 2009
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South Africa to host Indian cricket

2009-03-25 03:32:40 GMT2009-03-25 11:32:40 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Cricket fans in South Africa have hit a six.

As well as enjoying their own teams matches - they'll now be able to watch India's top players in action.

The Indian Premier League has decided to play its second edition matches abroad because of security concerns at home.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN AND COMMISSIONER OF THE INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (IPL) LALIT MODI, SAYING:

"To move the event outside of India has been one of the hardest decisions that the board of Cricket Control of India had to take, but I am equally confident that staging it here will be a massive success for us."

The Sri Lankan cricket team was targetted by militants in Pakistan earlier this month.

India too has had its fair share of problems, including the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.

It's security forces also have an election to police.

The strain of guaranteeing the safety of India's star cricketers as well was considered too much of a challenge.

England's cricket officials had hoped they might tempt the Indians to come further north.

But sadly for them it was a case of rain stopping play.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN AND COMMISSIONER OF THE INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (IPL) LALIT MODI, SAYING:

"The overwhelming reason that we chose South Africa, is primarily the weather conditions, the weather conditions in South Africa in the month of April and May are more favourable."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA) CEO, GERALD MAJOLA, SAYING:

"This is a great compliment to both cricket South Africa, and of course our great nation South Africa to hold one of the world's top sporting events at a short notice."

Delight then for the South Africa cricket board but the decision will be a logistical nightmare.

The world's largest single tournament has just 25 days to move.

400 hotel rooms will be needed every night and 10,000 air tickets must be booked.

The fixtures are yet to be announced.

But for six weeks from April 18 Indian cricket fans will have to be content with watching their heroes play domestic cricket thousands of miles from home.

Sonia Legg, Reuters.

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