Indian cricket team praises South Africa for returning cash

Johannesburg, April 18 (Inditop) A visiting Indian cricket team was full of praise for South Africa Saturday after a big stash of cash the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) team left behind in a room was returned untouched.

A cellphone company boss stumbled across 450,000 rand ($50,000) in the safe of a hotel room in the southern city of Port Elizabeth earlier this week.

The room had been used before him by the management of KXIP, which is in South Africa for the Indian Premier League (IPL) that began Saturday in Cape Town after being relocated from India for security reasons.

The businessman alerted the hotel management, which kept the money in a safe until the team’s management could retrieve it.

“It was an unusual situation, that was quickly resolved, when the hotel allotted the room we had been using as a meeting room to another guest,” Arvinder Singh, vice-president of operations for KXIP said.

“South Africa is a great country and its people are very honest.”

Singh said the money was to cover logistical costs and that the team would avoid travelling with large amounts of cash in future.

The cricket tournament was moved to South Africa less than a month ago because of fears around security during India’s month-long general elections, which began Thursday.

Despite holding its own general elections this week, South Africa pipped England in the search for an alternative venue for the second edition of the world’s biggest Twenty20 tournament.

The first of 59 games got underway Saturday at Newlands stadium in Cape Town between the Rajasthan Royals and the Bangalore Royal Challengers. The final takes place May 24 in Johannesburg.

The speed and relative ease with which the tournament has been organised has drawn favourable comparisons with the football World Cup, which South Africa will host next year.

Lalit Modi, IPL chairman, said: “It’s taken them eight years here to get ready for the 2010 soccer World Cup. We’ve had 29 days.”