Cape Town: Many thought moving the tournament to South Africa was a master-stroke by Lalit Modi and the IPL, but suddenly the cynics are having a field day. They claim ratings are dipping, the strategy breaks are plain greed and the weather will ruin the tournament. Here is Modi's answer to all that and more in a CNN-IBN exclusive with Roma Khanna.
CNN-IBN: One of the reasons you relocated was because of the weather. What do yo say now?
Lalit Modi: The weather is not in my hands and at the end of the day, we pray and hope the weather stays good and the game carries on.
We have scheduled matches according to the rain pattern. We wrap up in Cape Town this weekend and moved towards drier pastures in Northern South Africa. We can't predict rains. There is rain in England and there is rain here. The pattern showed the rains would be less here than anywhere else. We just can hope for the best.
CNN-IBN: Any complaints from Kings XI Punjab?
Lalit Modi: Kings XI are very upset with the Duckworth-Lewis system. They said we should scrap Duckworth-Lewis. At the end of the day, this is reality. It may benefit you or it may not benefit you, the losing team will always have a problem with it. But this is the game of cricket, the laws are made and we have to play by them.
CNN-IBN: It's being said that the TRPs in India is not the same as the ones created during the first season of the IPL. What's your take on that?
Lalit Modi: I think it's too soon to say that. In the opening matches, TRPs were above five. I have got the results for that. In fact, it's better than last year in certain cases and certain matches. And as the tournament builds up, we will see that happening.
As teams get more competitive with the tournament progressing, a lot more people will start watching. I think it's fantastic what we have been able to do in the last few days. We have had only a few games, only the first round is over and there are many more matches to go.
CNN-IBN: With the time-out rule, some feel it just changes the pace of the game, what are your thoughts on it?
Lalit Modi: I think it's good. We have quickened the game as far as we are concerned. Some feel some way and others the other way. The Royal Challengers were extremely excited when the time-out happened and they got two wickets after that, they felt it was the best thing ever. It's a new innovation, people will get used to the time-out.
There are suggestions that there should be just two-and-half-minute break like in the US and teams can take two two-minute time-outs as and when they want. We will examine that as we go along. There are different aspects of that. We are going to test it out and see what's the best way of going forward.
CNN-IBN: How do you respond to the criticism that it was partly being done for the broadcasters and the sponsors to get some air time?
Lalit Modi: It wasn't the case at all. We were 45-minutes over time last year. We haven't had a single game that has gone over time this year. On Tuesday, we had a game when it rained in the time-out and that was taken into account. So it benefited because there would have been a break anyway. It's all part of the game.