IPL chief considers an England link-up
IPL chiefs have welcomed the idea of lucrative international match-ups, in a new scheme which could prevent England from losing key internationals to the big-money Twenty20 league.
So far England internationals have been forbidden from playing in the megabucks new league which starts next week, with only Dimitri Mascarenhas signing up among a host of big names from around the world.
But the likes of big-hitting Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen would clearly be big draws alongside the likes of Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. And Lalit Modi, commissioner of the IPL, believes a partnership between the IPL and an English equivalent could throw up some big-draw matches. It could also clearly prevent a civil war within the English game.
Pietersen has already claimed it is unfair to deny England players a crack at the big money with former Australia spinner Shane Warne - who will also feature - backing up those sentiments. And Modi appeared to be paving the way for a system which would allow those players a bite at the cherry - although in a new league which would run in partnership with the Indian model rather than simply incorporating English stars.
He said: “Our players are contracted only to the IPL, but as long as an English Premier League was not played at the same time as ours, then I see no problem with partnership. I think it is a good idea.” Modi also believes the ICC should step in quickly and create a window which would see the short form of the game take centre stage.
He said: “It is a good idea for an English Premier League to play in our summer months - June and July. The only problem may be if our players have to play outside the IPL at this time. I think this window should be created.” Modi’s words clearly throw open the possibility of the cash-rich franchise scheme being tried in England.
Calls have already been heard for a new city-based league in a bid to freshen up the current county system. And Andrew Wildblood, who helped create the IPL with Modi, was confident such a scheme would cause the same stir in England as it did in India.
Superstars flocked to buy into the franchises on the subcontinent, and IMG executive Wildblood said: “Can you see a world in which, say, Sir Richard Branson would want to buy into a London cricket team, in which Sir Mick Jagger might want to have a financial interest?
If you come up with eight entities that are created to play in a Twenty20 Super League and they have the right players, play in the right places, at the right time for fans and TV viewers, they will create new revenues and revenues attract investors. Creating new value is the key,” he added.
After all the hype the IPL finally gets underway on Friday when the Bangalore Royal Chargers take on the Kolkata Knight Riders. The final of the 59-match competition will take place in Mumbai on June 1.