If only we had the IPL here
One isn't quite sure as to whether we did really explore the
possibilities of hosting the IPL cricket matches here in Sri Lanka.
Especially when the environment, for well-known reasons, was in no
way conducive to staging it in either India or Pakistan.
Presumptuous as it would seem, the option however could have been to
hold the matches in Sri Lanka. For the reason that the atmosphere
prevailing right now here, is comparatively very much better with the
civil conflict now ebbing away to recede, with security too, being
beefed up considerably.
On the other hand, if we did make a concerted effort and, in the
process succeeded in having the matches played here. Then it would have,
whilst giving the country a much needed morale boosting lift, also
served to be a propitious venture, with the generating of revenue to
make it a viable exercise.
Such thinking stems from the assumption, that the requirement of
rooms in the local hotel will be around 9000. This is based on the
understanding, that the tournament will involve 40 days, with the 8
teams each having a contingent of 30 persons.
It could also be argued, that followers of cricket in the
subcontinent and yet others, could find it much easier, to come over
here for 2 to 3 night packages to witness upto 4 IPL games, than go over
to Cape Town, Johanesburg or Durban.
Not forgetting as well, that the IPL matches coincides with school
holidays in India, where parents could have chosen Sri Lanka as their
holiday destination for this year.
We are not overlooking the fact that there would be the avenues to
provide transport, and services in catering and security. All this and
more, would have gone a long way to bolster the revenue of the
respective Sri Lankan companies and hotels and enhance the image of the
country, with a particular emphasis on the tourist industry.
Alas! a fine opportunity, virtually at our doorstep was missed.
Viewed in its entirety our need was greater than South Africa's. Verily
it might be said, that our loss, was South Africa's gain.