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Happy locals: Smith,Steyn feel IPL will be a rousing success

Even as players,who will be part of the IPL II show,rued the missed opportunity of playing in front a huge home crowd in India...

Written by Press Trust Of India | Johannesburg | Published: March 26, 2009 12:04:14 am

Even as players,who will be part of the IPL II show,rued the missed opportunity of playing in front a huge home crowd in India,they,by and large,felt that the re-located event would be as successful.

From South Africa skipper Graeme Smith to pace bowler Dale Steyn and Smith’s team mate and Australian Shane Watson,all felt that the atmosphere would not be what it was during the inaugural edition in India but the global appeal of the IPL will help cricket fans from his country to connect with the city-based teams.

“I was in India last year and I saw how the tournament captured the people’s imagination. They loved watching players who were traditional rivals play alongside each other. What also amazed me was when I returned,how many South Africans had watched the tournament on television and the associations they had made with the respective teams,” he said.

Smith,a part of the first edition champions Rajasthan Royals,also said,“It’s another opportunity for our country to showcase its beauty. I’m sure it will be huge success,” Smith told The Cape Times.

New batting sensation JP Duminy,who has been signed up by the Mumbai Indians,said he would have loved playing in India but is happy at least to figure in it. “I was kind of looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere of the Indian crowds,but I am excited the tournament will be in South Africa. I am just glad the tournament is going ahead,” said the left-hander.

Steyn feels it will increase cricket’s popularity in a country where the game has to jostle for space with rugby and football.

“Imagine what this will do for the youngsters of my country,” Steyn said. “When I was growing up,there were no World Cups in South Africa. I was excited just by the opportunity to watch Jonty Rhodes diving all over the place on television. Now the kids of South Africa have a chance to go down to their local grounds and watch the best players in the world playing each other,” said the pacer.

Keep final in Durban: Pollock

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock said Durban should host the final and semifinal matches of the IPL because of the favourbale weather conditions in the city. “Durban is the only city with the warm weather to make it feasible to hold matches that deep into winter,” Pollock said.

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