Melbourne: Kings XI Punjab coach Tom Moody believes there"s a “lot of intrigue" among local fans about the second version of the Indian Premier League to be played in South Africa after organisers made the switch from India for security reasons.
Moody, who coached Sri Lanka to the 2007 World Cup final, has assembled a strong line-up to represent Punjab including Sri Lankan stars Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene for the tournament starting this weekend.
But some of his Australian players such as Brett Lee, James Hopes and Shaun Marsh are only expected to be available for the last two weeks after touring with Australia to Dubai for the one-day series against Pakistan..
Moody says it"s very hard to pick a winner this year given the way top players will float in and out of their franchise teams; the reaction of the cricket public is also tough to predict.
It"s believed several teams were keen to play as many games in Durban as possible given the large Indian population in the beachside city.
“It"s going to be interesting. We play six games in Durban, a large percentage of our games in an area where it''s heavily populated by an Asian community," Moody said at the Kings XI team''s training base in Port Elizabeth this week.
“We"ve picked up (left-arm quick) Yusuf Abdulla who"s from Durban and has an Asian heritage -we may get a connection with the Durban fans through that.
“Particularly in places like Durban there"s going to be a strong following and I think there"s a lot of intrigue out there too - It has really captured people"s imagination," Moody added.
Meanwhile, the IPL claimed that tickets for Saturday"s matches were sold out within hours of going on sale.
thatsCricket (With Inputs From Agencies)