IOL Sport writer Lungani Zama.
Say it is so. Heck, pray it is so.

The rumours this week that the Indian Premier League might make South Africa home for a season in 2019 must be manna from heaven for Cricket South Africa.

At a time of so much uncertainty, that fistful of dollars and media attention would be the perfect antidote for a venomous winter.

Say it is so.

We all know what happened the last time India’s cricketing roadshow found itself in Africa. All those bonuses... All those scandals... All those exits.

All that cricket!

You would assume that is not the case in 2019, but unexpected money has always done strange things to people.

Whoever it was that brokered this looming cash injection for CSA must be acknowledged. Give that man a Bells - and all the whistles, too. In all seriousness, this twist of fate is vital for the health of the game.

A look at the itinerary for this summer confirms the period of austerity, after the gloriously excessive feast of India and Australia all in one, unforgettable summer.

Pakistan are guaranteed drama, and Sri Lanka are as honest as the day in Cape Town is long, but they are not heavyweights. They don’t draw nearly the same crowds as our last set of guests, and their squads don’t have the box-office billings of summer past.

The uncertainty around the T20 tournament  don’t you dare call it the T20 Global League anymore - refuses to die down, so this lifeline from Bengaluru would be timeous.

Thank goodness India’s general elections bring everything- cricket included  to a standstill. Thank goodness the elections always fall around April and May, requiring the BCCI to look elsewhere for a venue.

This is no time for South African cricket to play hard to get. India is a blesser, flashing dollars and popping bottles. Let it be so, and let them have the absolute best time.

Swing open the presidential suites and give them the freedom of the cities. These are tough times, dangerous times, even.

The value of T20 cricket continues to rumble on, and players heads are being continuously turned by greener pastures, laden with easy money.

If that easy money lands on CSA’s lap, they must definitely gobble up every rupee. The great migration that is Indian elections happens once every five years, and that is just about how long it supposedly takes for the coffers to start looking a bit bare.

Not for much longer, it seems. The IPL gig would replenish the stocks and infinitely more. Everyone feasts off that glistening cash cow, and the BCCI might still be paying less than they might have elsewhere.

That is the power of the dollar against the rand. The Donald trumps the mickey mouse every time, and CSA’s bean counters will be thrilled to see the lucre that may yet come their way.

Say it is so. For the sake of the local game. For the collective sigh of relief. For the nearby distraction of the IPL on our doorsteps.

For many reasons, and even just for this one season. Say it is so.

Pray it is so.


Sunday Tribune

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