South Africa are certainly not cribbing at not getting the opportunity to host Indian Premier League matches this year. If Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat is to be believed, there were no plans of hosting IPL matches this year in the Rainbow Nation. Lorgat has dismissed talks that CSA had refused to stage only part of the IPL, wanting the whole tournament or nothing. (Also read: ICC clears Lorgat of charges levelled by BCCI)
South Africa hosted the second edition of the IPL when general elections in India clashed with the tournament in 2009. South Africa looked the obvious overseas venue this time too but earlier this week, the BCCI announced that United Arab Emirates will host the first leg from April 16 to 30. The South Africans weren't surprised at all by the BCCI announcement, said Lorgat.
"They want to play the tournament close to home," Lorgat said in Johannesburg on Thursday. "We were involved in discussions all along and we were informed of the decision before it went public. It made sense to have the first 16 games in the UAE. If they needed longer outside India then maybe we would have featured," he added.
Lorgat denied reports that CSA demanded a huge amount of money to host IPL matches. The Times of India, quoting BCCI sources, said the South Africans wanted "close to Rs 180 Crore" to stage IPL matches this year. Lorgat said: "To say we made demands like that is totally untrue and the amounts of money that we were reported to have wanted have also been exaggerated."
Lorgat's relationship with the BCCI was at its lowest last year. India slashed their tour of South Africa almost by half in December last year and instead invited the West Indies for a series at home in November. That series saw Sachin Tendulkar retiring after playing his 200th Test at his home ground, Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. But in recent weeks, BCCI and CSA have been on friendlier terms, with Lorgat fully back at South Africa's No. 1 cricket administrator.
A former ICC CEO, Lorgat, admitted that had South Africa hosted the IPL, it would have been a bonus. "It would have been a windfall, but it's something we hadn't bargained for," Lorgat said.