IPL is a big hit with South African students

By Abhishek Roy, IANS,

Pretoria : Students have been flocking to the stadiums to watch the Indian Premier League as the match timings allow them to soak up the fun and frolic and return home before it is too late in the evening. Most places here are considered unsafe after sunset.

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Though the matches are scheduled to suit the prime time Indian viewers, the students here find it ideal to watch without their parents getting worried about their safe return.

For teenagers Mosaba, Emanuel and Cuan watching matches without any escort in the evening is a sign of adulthood. The evening IPL match gets over by 7.30 p.m. local time, a time the parents allow their wards to stay away from home.

“We don’t get opportunities to watch day-night matches. But IPL matches get over by 7.30 p.m., so we can safely go back home before the parental curfew,” says 13-year-old Emanuel, who studies in sixth standard at the Afrikaans Ho�r Seunskool, Pretoria.

Parents are happy that the timings suit their children to enjoy an evening and also catch up with their studies.

“Here we don’t allow our children to watch day-night matches because of safety concerns. But the IPL timings enable our children to watch cricket and then be home to study a couple of hours before going to sleep,” said his mother Lisa.

Importantly, the students get tickets at a concessional rate.

“We get student’s concession for the games and the tickets cost just 20 Rands and we don’t have to ask money from our parents. We can manage from our pocket money,” said 15-year-old Mosaba.

Hundreds of schoolchildren braved a blustery winter evening Monday at the Centurion Park to see Kolkata Knight Riders manage their second win in the IPL.

The teenagers had a rollicking time time watching their heroes dazzle while enjoying sizzling hot food.

Some hundred students from South African skipper Graeme Smith’s alma mater King Edwards High School came to watch him in action at the Wanderers Sunday.

“He is a role model and a super star for us. I wish I could become like him,” said Cuan McClaren, an eighth standard student.

There are many like McLaren who have ambitions to be big-time cricketers. The IPL has provided the spark for them.