Bully Lalit Modi

Lawrence Booth provides more details on severe stadium deals, suiteholders asked to give up seats for Bollywood stars, and suffering broadcasters:

No matter that the Newlands-based Cape Cobras stand to earn peanuts – one million rand (just under £75,000) – for staging eight matches at short notice at the end of a busy domestic season. To be seen to help is what counts. “If it all works out it will be a reminder of how good we are at staging international events,” said Andre Odendaal, the Cobras chief executive.

But business ventures – and the IPL remains very much business before pleasure – have their own ruthlessness, and the reality on the ground in the week leading up to the cricket has not quite tallied with Modi’s sunny assessment of “smooth sailing”. Much has been made of the sellouts at Cape Town for the weekend’s two double-headers, rather less of the Newlands suiteholders persuaded to sacrifice their private boxes to allow a comfier vantage point for the IPL’s endless stream of grandees.

Suiteholders at the Wanderers in Johannesburg are said to have been less compliant, and there is an underlying resentment in some quarters at the IPL’s apparent sense of entitlement. Modi’s decision to introduce compulsory time-outs after 10 overs of each innings, a naked means of creating more airspace for TV commercials, has gone down badly with the host broadcaster Sony, who were already fuming after Modi doubled their TV rights fee following last year’s successful launch in India.

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