Modi to leave for Johannesburg

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi will leave for Johannesburg on Tuesday night and a decision on the host nation for the second edition is expected on Wednesday.

Updated: March 24, 2009 09:34 IST
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New Delhi:

Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi will leave for Johannesburg on Tuesday night and a decision on the host nation for the second edition of the Twenty20 league may be expected on Wednesday.

Modi, who will be travelling to England from Johannesburg tomorrow evening, refused to concede South Africa as favourite to host the lucrative tournament saying it was logistically easier for him to travel to the rainbow nation first. "We will have to evaluate clearly and carefully before coming to a decision about the venue. We also need to take the weather pattern into consideration as well," Modi said.

Modi, is supposed to be accompanied by IPL CEO Sundar Raman and Tournament Director Dhiraj Malhotra, said both countries have their pros and cons.

He said there are a number of factors working in favour of England.

"England has easy connectivity with a number of flights operating from India. The country is also well prepared since it will host the Twenty20 World Championship and the county championship too is going to start," said Modi.

However, he conceded that weather could pose a problem. "Weather could be a problem and moreover due to the London Marathon, there could be a problem finding hotel rooms for some days. There's also the Test series between West Indies and England we have to take into account," he told a news channel.

With South Africa as venue, the tournament can begin on April 10, the scheduled starting date of the tournament. But with Lord's hosting the county season opener on that day, that's another problem the IPL could be facing. But Modi said he has another set of dates ready.

"Our original dates are from April 10 while the second set of dates are from April 17. But I didn't release the second set since we didn't want to hit further roadblock." Modi also said he is not reading much into comments made by the International Cricket Council about too many Twenty20 events happening in England.

The ICC is afraid that if the IPL is hosted in England it could take some sheen away from the Twenty20 World Championship to be hosted later on.

But Modi said the BCCI has an understanding with both the English and South African cricket boards in this regard and hosting the tournament would not be a problem.

Talking about the political mudslinging that has resulted with the BCCI's decision to move IPL out of the country, Modi said he was himself disappointed but with elections clashing with the tournament dates, the cricket board had no other option.

"Sad to see it (decision to move IPL) being politicised and we hope it doesn't get so anymore and everyone enjoys the game. As (Sharad) Pawar right said, more than 90 per cent of the people will watch the matches on TV and if we host them as per our time, there should be no issue," said Modi.

On the question of IPL's official broadcaster after BCCI terminated its contract with Sony, Modi said negotiations have begun with other broadscasters and is about to end.

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