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Reality versus television

Lauren,a college student in Durban,earns 200 rands a day distributing free placards with ‘4’ and ‘6’ printed on them.

Lauren,a college student in Durban,earns 200 rands a day distributing free placards with ‘4’ and ‘6’ printed on them. Work has been boring,she says. Every day she returns more than half her stock once her six-hour shift ends. “Not a bad way to make some extra money though.”

Watching the IPL on TV gives an impression that stadiums are a bustling hub of activity — loud,exciting,and full. But at the ground,the real picture is a little bit different. Right next to Lauren,a large percentage of the food stalls in the circumference of the Kingsmead stadium have shut shop,some moving to the soccer matches at the Senzangakhola stadium and some to the Super 14 Rugby. So,TV images notwithstanding,there don’t seem to be so many takers for what is now being referred to in these parts as the “Bollywood Cricket League”.

Inside the ground,the spectators are usually holed up in pockets. They wave flags and banners when the cameras turn towards them,and the cheerleaders dance before and after every delivery,but the large expanse of empty blue and white chairs is somehow unrepresented on the television broadcast.

There has been only one game where the stands were filled to capacity — Delhi vs Bangalore at Port Elizabeth,where the stadium holds 20,000 people.

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“It’s not like a big one-day match,where there are countries involved and we watch it. You can’t expect people to watch these matches in the stadium day in and day out when most of the players are unknown to us,” says Sixollene,who went to watch a double-header in Durban last week.

“There are many people like me who were generally curious about IPL and wanted to know what it was about. We’ve been rooting for South African players rather than backing a team. As the tournament grows,the interest will become less,” she says.

In the run-up to the tournament,organisers had said that early tickets were sold out within minutes of going on sale. If that was correct,for some reason,a large number of ticket-holders somehow decided not to show up.

First published on: 05-05-2009 at 12:23:25 pm
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