And once again Lalit Modi shows that he is indeed the best thing that happened to Indian Cricket since Jagmohan Dalmiya’s commercialisation. When the country refused to provide the IPL the security that it needed and requested, an ad hoc plan to shift the whole tournament to South Africa was required and within days,, he shifted the whole event to the rainbow nation. In his own words, “To relocate an event of this magnitude to another continent in less than four weeks is simply mind-boggling.”
I was glad I was in Bombay for my internship, thus allowing me to watch the matches on television each night – also once on the big screen at Juhu Mocha! Saddened though I was on seeing tears on the ever-so-bubbly dimpled face of the pretty Preity, I couldn’t wonder at how the South African nation stands to benefit from the IPL. Four weeks ago, as they wondered if they were ready to host the biggest event in their short history – the FIFA World Cup 2010, Lalit Modi provided them with the best dress-rehearsal there could be. With exactly 50 weeks before the first match is played, South Africa can sure claim to be the right place for the FIFA World CUP.
And not just that, the economic benefits far outweighed the troubles this huge logistical nightmare brought to South Africa. 35 days of cricket – around 30-40 staff for each team, reporters, sponsors, crickets officials, the media, the organisers and the fans – all in all we sure are looking at five-star bookings tops 10k hotel days. Add to that the travel that these people had to do – the airline tickets itself would be huge economic boost to the nation. Add to that the tourism benefits – the safari packages, the SOTC tours et al. Even the simplistic of things like the roaming charges on cellphone!!! The President put the economic activity at 1 billion rand!!!
Lest I forget, let me also mention the indirect economic activity this would bring to the nation – the goodwill that it will generate internationally. The IPL has put a cross-mark on the international event-managers’ radars. And now the South Africans can sure brag of hosting huge international events and surge on their preparations for the Confederations Cup – 2009 and the most watched television extravaganza – the FIFA World CUP beginning on June 11th, 2010.
All in all – the grandest party of the year for the South Africans will bring in more than just the fun and excitement it promised...
P.S: What filled my heart with pride and gave me goosebumps – The closing ceremony – the beautiful instrumental played – guess the tune – vaishnav jan... Gandhi will never be forgotten in this foreign land even if he is ridiculed in his own nation...
P.S2: If you missed the closing ceremony, you surely should see the re-telecast. Though I din't understand the local songs (obviously, or may be they were English but I din't listen), the lights, colours and fire made it worth every second. Sydney 2000 wasn't as good!!!
P.S3: If you are wondering what the "army man" sung before the beautiful fireworks display - click here. It is a beautiful song by Eddy Grant.