CA pads up for a league of its own
Cricket Australia has begun to investigate staging its own version of the glamorous Indian Premier League in a bid to cash in on the Twenty20 phenomenon.
CA will consider staging a similar tournament, perhaps within two years.
While it's unlikely to be on the same scale as the $2 billion IPL, senior CA officials believe some facets of the IPL could be transplanted to Australia.
Whether teams remain under state jurisdiction or become privately run franchises, like what has happened in the IPL, is still a point of debate.
Other ideas floated include:
A SALARY cap - perhaps between $10-$15 million a team;
ICON players for each team. For instance, Brad Hodge and Cameron White would be the "untouchables" for the Victorian Bushrangers, Michael Clarke and Brett Lee for New South Wales, and Mitchell Johnson and Matthew Hayden for Queensland;
A PLAYER draft which could feature international talent;
TEAMS from major cities and country areas, and one from New Zealand.
The tournament, perhaps held over three to four weeks, would be staged during an Australian home summer when local Test stars are available, and would not clash with the IPL, even if it moves from its current slot.
Australia's domestic Twenty20 tournament, the KFC Big Bash, has been a huge success but needs to be overhauled if it is to attract serious international television revenue, which would be the backbone of the new competition.
The IPL has a 10-year, $1 billion deal with Sony Television.
"I think you will notice some changes in two years' time," a CA source said yesterday.
CA spokesman Peter Young last night confirmed an investigation was under way.
"In reality we have taken a blank sheet of paper and said, 'what might a domestic Twenty20 competition look like?" Young said.
"Should it be just one side from each state? Should we look at overseas models, including the IPL model where you have a city base and more than one team from certain states? Should it involve New Zealand or not? We are thinking that through."
This revelation follows a call last month from Australian players' union boss Paul Marsh for CA to look into hosting its own international Twenty20 tournament.
"It could be like soccer. The Indian league will be the Indian Premier League, and then you have the Australian league as the second league, or the English league or whatever it may be," Marsh said.
CA understands there is no way Australia can compete with the financial muscle of Indian business and the IPL, let alone its population of one billion, which has seen most IPL matches played before sellout crowds.
But, done properly, some CA officials believe "good" money can still be made from a local tournament. Australia has been left behind on the Twenty20 front, with even the England and Wales Cricket Board taking a proactive stance with Texan-billionaire Allen Stanford, who wants to bankroll a tournament in England.
CA and most governing boards around the cricketing world are frustrated they do not receive a cent from the IPL, despite providing some of the tournament's major drawcards.
A major concern is that the IPL does not have any responsibility to promoting and funding the game at a grassroots level.