Bransgrove slams ECB for EPL delay
Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove said on Friday it was ludicrous to wait until 2010 to launch the English version of the Indian Premier League.
"We conceived Twenty20 but India has been quicker to exploit its commercial potential," Bransgrove told Reuters.
"The idea to launch in 2010 is ludicrous. I would have started making changes this year including more overseas players or making it two-divisional. It's not brain surgery," added the millionaire entrepreneur.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke previously indicated the new event would start in 2010 to avoid clashing with next year's home Ashes series against Australia.
"We don't want a knee-jerk reaction to the IPL but we believe we can set up a robust, spectator-friendly, economically sustainable competition of our own which will not cut across the core revenue streams of test and one-day international cricket," Clarke told reporters.
The ECB has been holding talks with Texas billionaire Allen Stanford about how to rival the IPL, which has generated one billion pounds in media rights alone.
"Talks are ongoing and have been positive and constructive," said ECB chief executive David Collier.
Plans to restructure England's Twenty20 Cup, which started in 2003, gathered pace after this month's IPL launch.
With England players unavailable for the IPL and seemingly frustrated at missing the chance to swell their earnings, the Hyderabad franchise are paying $1.35 million (681,000 pounds) a year to Australian Andrew Symonds, the ECB must find a way of placating IPL targets like Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff.
"We would be silly not to try to produce our own kind of competition," England test captain Michael Vaughan told the BBC.
The Antigua-based Stanford has staged two inter-island Twenty20 events in the Caribbean where he became engrossed with a sport most Americans know little about.
"Twenty20 has the potential to be the most popular team sport in the whole world in maybe less than 10 years," Stanford said this week.
"But it's going to take a highly-organised, highly-efficient management team to run this show."
One man who supports a new event but has reservations about attracting the world's top players is Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton.
"How are you going to persuade a player who has gone to the IPL for 250,000 pounds to come and play Twenty20 here for 20,000 pounds?," said Newton.
"Don't expect suddenly for us to match the wages in India. We never will."