March 5, 2008

Indian Premier League

Why should the IPL be globally managed?

Mukul Kesavan
Kerry Packer and Tony Greig outside the High Court in London, October 1977
 © The Cricketer International


Some six years ago I wrote an article speculating about a world in which domestic cricket in India would be organised around commercial franchises and clubs on the football model, not the territorial principle on which the Ranji Trophy is based. With the IPL, this has (sort of) come to pass. I can't lay claim to prescience because I was dreaming of franchised first-class cricket, not a Twenty20 league.

I've no idea whether the IPL will work in the long term or not and I'm as surprised as anyone at the money that's been bid for the players. But it seems like an interesting experiment that might create a following for the game at a sub-national level. I'd like Twenty20 cricket to mutate into a four-innings format, like Test cricket in miniature. It's an idea that Chris Cairns once mentioned in a discussion in a television studio. It's a feasible format because even with each side batting twice, the 80 overs would take less time to bowl than the 100 overs of one-day cricket. The sports channels would love it (more time to flash commercials in) and the limited-overs game would be invested with some of the magic of Test cricket: the thrill of another chance, the prospect of the stirring fight back, the shot at a second-innings redemption.

I can see the reasons why people are anxious about the IPL: the fact that it’ll clog up an already crowded calendar, the fear that wads of easy money might devalue Test cricket and the possible disruption of domestic cricket seasons elsewhere in the world. Also, as a middle-aged fan, I wouldn’t trust Lalit Modi and Sharad Pawar as far as I could throw an elephant when it comes to protecting the long game which, for me, defines cricket.

What I can't understand is the chorus of voices - represented on Cricinfo by Ian Chappell and David Lloyd in discussion with Sanjay Manjrekar - asking that the BCCI ought to cut other cricket boards into the money (or that the ICC ought to collect an IPL cess and distribute it among other boards) and, even more bizarrely, that the IPL ought to be jointly managed by representatives of the cricket world's national boards.

County cricket in England is staffed by professional players from England and the rest of the world. Individual overseas players are paid for their services. I've never read or heard people arguing that the West Indies cricket board ought to be compensated by the ECB for lending it the services of players that the WICB has nurtured and developed. Individual players have historically arrived at contracts and understandings with their county managements that allow them to balance the responsibility of playing for their countries with the need to make as good a living as possible. Coming to Lloyd's point that the IPL would be seriously disruptive, it's worth pointing out that the county season lasts considerably longer than the proposed duration of the IPL, which is meant to last for all of two months.

Lalit Modi arrives for the BCCI's working committee meeting, New Delhi, June 12, 2007
 © AFP
Chappell and Lloyd press for the IPL to be 'globally' managed because that way it wouldn't be the BCCI going off on a tangent and selfishly disrupting world cricket. This is more than a bit rich coming from Chappell, who was once part of World Series Cricket, a circus dreamt up by a thwarted television magnate with the quite deliberate intention of holding every Test-playing nation to ransom. Given that he and his team-mates were enthusiastic participants for the duration of the WSC adventure, I'm surprised to hear him being sanctimonious about the BCCI not having the best interests of cricket at heart. I don't recall Packer asking the world's cricket boards if he could subsidise them for the trouble they had taken to raise the players he was buying for his pirate league. The BCCI, like the WSC, is run by a businessman who sees cricket as a cash cow. I can't see why it's bad for a properly constituted national board to organise a credibly franchised cricket league when it's okay for a solitary TV moghul to set up a circus wholly owned by one person. Lloyd and Chappell are having some difficulty coming to terms with the fact that this little circus isn't owned the ECB or Cricket Australia. I sympathise; it isn't easy to like or trust the BCCI. But then lots of crusty administrators and journalists didn't like Packer and much good came of WSC. Something similar might happen here.

The worst that could happen is that no one turns up to watch the games, the television ratings don't draw the eyeballs necessary to sustain the league, and the whole thing collapses. Who cares? The franchise owners don't need our sympathy and at least there'd be a bunch of players with their retirements taken care of. At best it could create a commercially viable tier of competitive cricket and, as Chappell suggests, new hybrid formats for the future of the game. I'll tell you what won't happen, though: having supplied the venues, the audiences, the franchise owners and the structure, the BCCI isn't about to hand the IPL over to the United Nations to run. I don't think Chappell advised Packer to share the goodness then; I'm not sure why he's asking the BCCI to do it now.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

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Posted by Mark Peck on (March 20, 2008, 11:26 GMT)

Whilst we must be awefully careful to protect Test cricket and the World game we must also see the benefits of the new IPL. It will bring new blood and interest into the game. New fans will be brought into cricket because of the excitement of the Twenty20. All the ICC and all the boards need to do is to have the power to control their players and enhance the interest at Test level to keep players and spectators interested. This will keep Test cricket alive. Together the IPL and Test cricket can work matrimonally. I do believe however that some of the cash generated from the IPL should go back into grass roots and the subsequent boards. The IPL would be better for all if it targeted newly retired players. These players are who fans want to see and the players will be able to make some good money to end their careers.

Posted by Rahul on (March 14, 2008, 7:14 GMT)

spot on!

Posted by mahesh on (March 12, 2008, 13:33 GMT)

Bravo Mukul!..Unlike many others, you do not mind supporting the incumbent.

While talking about money spoiling the game, I just cannot understand why no one raised their voice when BCCI awarded One Crore to Yuvraj for hitting six sixers in a T20 game! And why is it that the Indian team should be given 10 crores for winning in Australia?! Were they sent expecting a total disaster or is it that these players are not paid well already?!

Let's take IPL as an experiment. The money involved is not BCCI's. It is being contributed by so may corporates. If the corporates think it is worth it, then what is the harm? It is all good to think about the divinity and purity of the game from an India or Australia. But for prople in England and West Indies Cricket boards, existence is becoming tough. Thts is how this 20-20 game came about. Therefore, for encouraging cricket, may be such revolutions(or blunders) like IPL is of utmost importance.

Posted by Mohsin Chaudhry on (March 12, 2008, 11:06 GMT)

Mate you've read it all wrong. Big money has its dangers. This could seriously upset the cricketing world. Its not the IPL specifically that needs to be globally managed; that can be independent but what we need to do is have all parties sit down and manage all world cricket under one administrator.

Posted by raj on (March 11, 2008, 6:37 GMT)

in, type "overgrown mutant potato" and click on "I'm feeling lucky" button. See which cricker's name turns up.

Posted by Anjo on (March 10, 2008, 11:41 GMT)

Chappell and LLoyd have gotten it wrong if they think globally managing the IPL is going to restrict disruption of world cricket. I don't think the BCCI has gotten it right if they think they will manage the league, I can't see them controlling it much longer, they've bitten off more than they can chew by running to corporate India in their haste to crush the ICL. One way or another, either corporates will take over the BCCI or they'll simply form their own board. World cricket is going to be shaken up and its not going to matter whether one or all boards try managing the league, the game has now been privatized to a new level and allegiances to national boards have already been tested. Maybe the BCCI realized this when Zee started the ICL and Modi and gang have taken the easy way out. Speaking of rich, to me the quote of the Ind-Aus series came from the aussie lady who coaxed Hayden (obnoxious weed interview); about the indian team: "Why don't they just shut up and play cricket?"

Posted by s3ns3 on (March 10, 2008, 3:49 GMT)

But then not even discarded English players have shown any inclination to participate in IPL. This just goes on to show what control ECB has over their players. If only Australia follow this by having control over all their players, no one would follow IPL and TV ratings would dip. There is just no charisma for other country players to pull in TV viewers. IPL would do well to keep CA happy. CA would already be pissed off because of their money-hungry players!

Posted by S3ns3 on (March 10, 2008, 3:38 GMT)

No followup on Ponting and 1950s and Sachin not walking? Sanjay Manjrekar rightly called him the sitting elephant in the room (or media room)!

Posted by arun on (March 9, 2008, 15:42 GMT)

ajit, shouldn't be surprising. there are a lot of cricketers who prefer football to cricket (their own game). I can think of Ambrose, viv richards, botham etc.

Posted by Philip John Joseph on (March 9, 2008, 12:15 GMT)


I would point out that India is NOT philosophically wedded to a belief in market forces in any way shape or form. Communism, whether Maoist or Marxist, definitely holds sway philosophically and/or psychologically. In practice, it is very hard to impose communist ideology on the economy at large because it simply doesn't work. Therefore India has essentially been forced to adopt policies that it's people emphatically reject. The only significant ostensibly free-market political party in India is the Bharatiya Janata Party representing the Shatriyas and their commercial interests. While I would support the BJP's economic policies, their policies of communal hatred are so outrageous as to render them completely useless in any kind of service to the nation beyond their representation in parliament of the Shatriyas. The vast majority of Indians have a vested interest in quotas and other communist/socialist practices. The free-market in India is despised, despite it's efficiency.

Posted by Ajit on (March 9, 2008, 8:45 GMT)

surprising to hear that dickie bird's first love is football and that his favourite club is Barnsley

Posted by KM on (March 9, 2008, 2:48 GMT)

Having just seen England crumble to NZ, I feel IPL is the only way to get even contests. Otherwise the top nations will only get better. I think the IPL will hopefully adopt the NBA style way of giving out top draft picks of the season to the teams that are weakest. I feel in this context, it is better that IPL is globally managed. I vote that we have test matches too between the franchises. As passionate fan, I cannot see one-sided contests anymore even if my favorite team is winning. I do hope you can bring attention to this through your blog.

Posted by Rohit on (March 9, 2008, 2:13 GMT)

Mukul, one way the other cricket boards have helped the BCCI is by coming down harshly on ICL-affiliated players. That will help create some value for the IPL. How that value is redistributed will depend on the negotiating powers of the respective boards. The main concern for me, however, is not how much each board makes. I find their unfettered cartel-like behavior deeply disturbing. Not only is this economically inefficient, but (for me) morally objectionable as well. It beggars belief that it is legal to curtail trade. Not just that of individual players, but the ICL as well. Also, it surprises me that there is an inadequate quorum of protest against such abuse of power. Maybe India is not quite as philosophically wedded to a belief in market forces as many would assume.

Posted by Prakash Shenoy on (March 8, 2008, 16:50 GMT)

IPL is a very good idea, simply because it increases the velocity of money - from coffers of BCCI to young, hardworking boys from small Indian towns. This increases employment and is good for local economy.

Posted by Bis on (March 8, 2008, 12:54 GMT)

Chappell, on the other hand, is a cricket lover who recognises the need for change but also respects the essence of the sport. Instead of abandoning the process of change to the centrifugal tsunami of the so called “free” market, he is in favour of managing the process of change so it benefits all the identifiable stakeholders within the sport and not simply the coffers of the BCCI. This combined with the fact that Chappell and his whole family are legatees of a life long involvment in the highest echelons of the game, stretching back to the days of his grandfather as a top level international cricketer, means that a single one of his statements on these matters carries more oomph and gravitas than the whole of your oeuvre lumped together.

To confuse the aggrandisement of the BCCI with the welfare of sport and recreation in India is either naive or a cynical ideological mystification of the unsavoury underlying process of commodifying our entitlements unfolding across the globe.

("...Chappell and his whole family are legatees of a life long involvment in the highest echelons of the game, stretching back to the days of his grandfather as a top level international cricketer..." From workerist militancy to inherited authority in a single thread? And you a radical, Bis? Tchah!


Posted by Bis on (March 8, 2008, 12:37 GMT)

As Prabhakar said, your questioning of the motives of Chappell and Lloyd as that of older imperial powers disturbed by the new kid on the block actually betrays your own profoundly insecure chest thumping and breast beating chauvinism. As universalrampage says, it is the “brown sahibs” watching satellite television inside their gated communities who will be cheering on this kind of ritualised arena entertainment. It has nothing to do with rational communal interaction and the solidarity which ensues from shared pleasure in the nuances of an ethic of popular participation abounding in ambiguity, subtlety and a tradition and lore of learned and erudite interpretation. Pratik Chakrabarti rightly points to the auctioning of players with a price tag on their heads as an indicator of the kind of society India and other countries following the globalisation model are becoming.

Posted by Bis on (March 8, 2008, 12:35 GMT)

Your logic is the rapacious logic of an unbridled, unregulated globalised capitalism where everything (including the passion, knowledge and love for the game of cricket shared by people from all communities) is turned into a commodified spectacle passively consumed by advertiser driven and television audiences of consumerist individuals united only by the herd instinct of brand loyalty and tribal identification. This is the master narrative of the BJP – populist and chauvinistic brand identities in the age of globalised finance capital and telecommunications. As Pratik presciently notes, this is giving succour to every communal chauvinist and vote bank political investor in India. As Prabhakar said, your questioning of the motives of Chappell and Lloyd as that of older imperial powers disturbed by the new kid on the block actually betrays your own profoundly insecure chest thumping and breast beating chauvinism.

Posted by Bis on (March 8, 2008, 12:33 GMT)

As Scott rightly says above, IPL is establishment seeking a new hegemony, not an outsider like WSC trying to force its way in which would be more akin to ICL. It is Packer and Zee/ICL which is the true analogy, not your demotic equation of WSC with IPL. As swingtime says, the main problem with the IPL is that it is linked to the BCCI – if it was independent of the BCCI then the analogy with WSC would be more accurate. As Pratik pointed out above, BCCI is an international monopolist out to destroy all its rivals (as its treatment of ICL and the persecution of those who signed for it shows). It is prepared to sacrifice the sport we know and love and sell it to the highest bidder for its own short tem profits and the prestige of its “Indian” brand. Chappell is doing the world of cricket a huge favour by speaking up on behalf of the disenfranchised global community of cricket lovers.

Posted by Bis on (March 8, 2008, 12:32 GMT)

The point I was making about Packer and IPL was that Packer wanted to work with the cricket establishment which rejected him so he formed a breakaway league. If BCCI/IPL chooses to try and dominate the cricket world instead of working with it it will surely end up destroying the sport and overseeing its mutation into some brand of arena entertainment for lobotomised consumers. As for Chappell not being a champion of the underdog, you need to read up on the history of cricket. You will find that Chappell as Australian captain in the seventies was a militant champion of his cricketers when negotiating on their behalf with the ACB and this workerist militancy vis a vis his employers was one of the factors which led him to nail his colours to the pirate masts of WSC. Bone has already pointed out that you are on shaky ground attacking Ian Chappell for not being concerned about the financial welfare of the modern player.

("workerist militancy"? Eh? Chappell has many qualities but he's spent most of his life working for Packer's Channel 9 and Murdoch's Sky. Cesar Chavez he is not; he isn't even Keir Hardie. Think Teamsters Union in its Republican phase and you might be warmer.


Posted by Suresh Kumar on (March 8, 2008, 9:08 GMT)

Very nice article Mukul. However just 2 things which I would like you to comment on: 1. Just because Packer did not share anything with any other boards does not mean IPL/BCCI should not. If they go ahead and share the money, the other boards will feel that belong to this circus that is unfolding. 2. BCCI/IPL is just using their might to clamp down on any kind of honest competition in the form of ICL. They have arm twisted the other boards to ban their players if they joined IPL. What will stop them from arm twisting commentators, newspapers and neutral observers like you? That would be the death-knell for objective reporting. Can you please dedicate a piece on this possible dangerous development?

Posted by Bhanu Prasad on (March 8, 2008, 0:31 GMT)

By commenting on Ian Chappel and David Lloyd --you sounded a bit like Gavaskar would if given an opportunity against Anglo-Australian cricketers. I think you are far bigger than that. Other than that your blog is the most awaited piece on the web.

Posted by G on (March 7, 2008, 21:05 GMT)

Mukul you have made some brilliant points..i really can't understand why anybody else should be governing the IPL. It's the Indian market that is putting the behinds in the seats and the eyeballs on the tvs. Isn't it enough that India is generating almost 70% of the total cricket revenue. As far as Sanjay Manjrekar is concerned, I think he has been trying too hard to seem totally non-biased and practical and judging by his recent tendulkar articles(calling him a sitting elephant) and his online discussions, it seems he is just trying a little too hard at the expnese of common sense. The analogy with County Cricket is also perfect, the only difference being that the IPL is going to generate much more money and excitement. One of the readers actually commented that its only the players from poor countries who are joining the IPL, which is actually totally not true. Last I checked the cream of NZ cricket had signed up for ICL and New Zealand is not a poor country by any means.

Posted by Dhaval Brahmbhatt on (March 7, 2008, 20:01 GMT)

Mukul, I am actually surprised that you even read posts/hear conversations by Sanjay Manjrekar. Add to that, if Sanjay is with Ian Chappell, there is no way in this wide world that I would want to read/hear what they are discussing. Sanjay is just a sycophant, towing Ian Chappell's line at all given instances. With regards to IPL cannibalizing Test and One-Day cricket - the fears are very genuine, and it is up to the ICC to do something about it. Global management of IPL is not the solution to ensure against cricket's cannibalization, but allowing time for IPL on the international calendar for both IPL and ICL might be. There by, boards can only contract their players for about 10 months and pay them accordingly (translates to less money than if contracted for 12 months). Players can then supplement their income from either IPL/ICL. That is a better solution than having an IPL tax and its global management.

Posted by Andy on (March 6, 2008, 20:25 GMT)

I am concerned that as was seen in the trends of the player auction that the IPL, by its very nature, is not do with cricket but with the silly amounts of money that can be generated from spectacle of several famous cricket allied 'celebrities' going through the motions of simulating a cricket game for the purpose entertaining the masses and because of this there is the real risk that the quality of the cricket could collapse even if the venture is a wildly successful commercial venture.

Posted by Travis on (March 6, 2008, 20:22 GMT)

Mukul, "franchise owners don't need our sympathy and at least there'd be a bunch of players with their retirements taken care of."

That's exactly right. But back in the pre-WSC days Chappell wasn't looking forward to a secure retirement. Even in the supposedly amateur days of Bradman a player would arrive home from a tour with a "stipend" generous enough to put a downpayment on a house. Players in the '70s couldn't look forward to the same kind of security. That's why WSC happened.

The comparison here is with European club football, not county cricket. Every so often there is a call from European football clubs, some of the richest sporting entities on Earth, for National sides (eg poor African nations)to give THEM compensation for taking away their players.

If the IPL becomes a success then it will be only a matter of time before the people who are profiting from it demand the same thing. eg Kolkata might tell the BCCI that Ishant is unavailable for India unless they get $.

(Travis, if there's an enormous market for a single sport (cricket and India in this case) businessmen will find a way of making it work for them. I'm hoping that the franchises, who are underwriting the IPL with their money will eventually take control of the league and make the BCCI redundant, which could then go back to its main brief: agreeing Test and one-day schedules with other countries. And since I'm fantasizing here, I hope the ICC dies a quick death and Test cricket goes back to being a set of bilateral arrangements between the eight major Test playing countries. As someone suggested on this thread, a rugby league/rugby union-style split might be a gift to the game in its current fevered state.

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by Philip John Joseph on (March 6, 2008, 19:18 GMT)

Rohit, Shankar Anand:


Hype is equivalent to pride. The IPL is surrounded by hype, and this signals overweening pride and arrogance for something that is nothing to the real world. America has a bigger economy? Isn't that the point? That the IPL is a joke because it is based on a poverty stricken economy. Thank you for making my point. Are you claiming that cricket has NOT been established for decades in India? Jealousy? I loved it when Murali claimed that Warne was jealous of him. Indians need to learn that the jealousy argument will only make the people making that argument look ridiculous, like you. I couldn't be jealous of the IPL if my life depended on it, just like Warne could not be jealous of Murali if his life depended on it. Are you jealous of the NBA Rohit?

Shankar Anand:

Where are your facts? Are you just assuming your calculations to be correct? The average salary of an NBA player fifty years ago is irrelevant since basketball was not serious then.

Posted by Sankara Pillai on (March 6, 2008, 14:53 GMT)

Your idea of having two innings in T20 is great one. It will make it less of a lottery and as you said the TV channels would love the additional time to air the ads. Possibility of seconf inning redemption also increases the thrill and the tension for the viewers. Since one of the basic thoughts behind having T20 was to provide viewing public with entertainment which fits within 3 hours of an evening, you could even think of playing the two innings on successive days. Or even on a home and away basis.

Posted by ARROW on (March 6, 2008, 13:55 GMT)

Let's not forget the fact that IPL and its francisees are business organizations. You can not 'demand' money from them. If they decide to 'donate' money for improvement of cricket(they probably will when they start making profits... if at all they make) that's a different matter. As someone suggested, the respective boards can make their cricketers pay them a part of their IPL-money. BCCI arm-twisting ICC to ensure ICL fails is deplorable (it is 'inquisition' as Osaman said).

Posted by Madan on (March 6, 2008, 13:31 GMT)

Shaun Singh: If Cricket Australia has organised something like the IPL I doubt there would have been anywhere near as many critics.

This I agree with, we would have then seen Ian Chappell and the rest pontificating on the merits of the system and trying to allay our fears. It is true that much of the skepticism is emanating because of who runs the IPL but at the same time, the myriad issues concerning BCCI's arm-twisting of other cricket boards are yet to be addressed. The only thing that will rein the BCCI in is if other boards unite and boycott all fixtures involving India unless the ICL ban goes. I would hate to say so at a time when our team is doing well and may go on to seal the no.1 spot (who knows) but that is perhaps the best thing that could happen in the interest of cricket.

Posted by Shaun Singh on (March 6, 2008, 11:18 GMT)

I completely agree.Great article! If Cricket Australia has organised something like the IPL I doubt there would have been anywhere near as many critics.

Posted by Kit on (March 6, 2008, 11:07 GMT)

Share profits with other countries? Hey, how about sharing profits with so many organizations trying to ensure that the poor get 2 square meals a day?

Posted by Ajit on (March 6, 2008, 10:00 GMT)

hey sorry mukul if I didnt explain my point clearly in the first comment. I am too overwhelmed to see BCCI ripping the profits. first of all I would like to know what does BCCI plan to do with these profits? will they invest most of it in construction of new stadiums, acadmies in India or just corruption and mismanagement like we saw during the period of Dalmiya?

and the bigger issue I want to get at IS, the money from IPL is very good for individual players currently. but it short sighted policy from the BCCI. cricket is currently not in good form because not enough money is being spent on promoting it to new countries who want to join. ( Uganda maybe for example)and I dont think that indidual interests of a country (India) match to the broader and long term interests of the game cricket. having said that , to promote these interests , I also trust any other board in the world to do a better job than BCCI ( I am an Indian) because BCCI has a history of failure for cricket in India.

Posted by Umair Qazi on (March 6, 2008, 9:57 GMT)

Mr. Kesavan, with all due respect you have failed to address the issue of why Chappell and Lloyd suggested that the BCCI compensate the other cricket boards regarding the IPL. The issue here is the ICL. We all know what the BCCI thinks of that and Chappell and Lloyd's view was that since the national boards were towing the line of the BCCI in banning ICL-signed players from domestic and int'l cricket, the BCCI should share their profits from the IPL with these boards who have supported them.

I don't think the BCCI should compensate anyone but I do believe that they should let the ICL be and not put restrictions on it nor garner spport from other boards against the ICL.

Posted by Mohan on (March 6, 2008, 9:34 GMT)

sameer, well said! That's another reason why all right thinking Indians should be supporting IPL in a big way. I think a lot of people are letting their traditional hatred of bcci come in the way of seeing the positives of this initiative.

Posted by Jas Panesar on (March 6, 2008, 9:15 GMT)

THe IPL is wholly owned by the BCCI and I can't see why they would want to share that with anyone else. The intention is to showcase Indian players with a sprinkling of foreign 'stars'. Bearing this in mind MK is right and I hope that the IPL or some version of it does succeed as I would like to see up and coming Indian players who maybe don't get enough exposure nationally or internationally (I mean television).

As for the other boards I don't think any English players will be missed nor will anyone else who wants to stay at home. Some, of course, should stay at home given their dislike for all things Indian - we don't need neanderthals in india.

And finally, Ambani might not be worth 20 Billion dollars but Mittal is worth 22 Billion dollars.

Posted by sameer on (March 6, 2008, 9:08 GMT)

Let me just tell you a little fact. I'm from Hyderabad and the Hyderabad IPL team has a bloke called P. Vijay Kumar, a guy who came up through the ranks of domestic cricket. the guy is a bowler who comes from a very, very poor family. Now he has got a contract of Rs. 60 Lakhs for IPL as V.V.S is very keen in bringing up home-grown talent. If you really go take a look at his place you will understand that this amount of money is more than huge for him. Vijay Kumar says he will first buy a proper home to live in with the cash! The story is truly wonderful. Not to mention the fact that he will be bowling in nets to Gilly, Symonds, Afridi, Gibbs and Laxman. If that does not help a young bowler, then i do not know what will. I think you are being too bothered about the wrong stuff and not taking a look at the gains. I suppose it is very hard for the English and the Aussies to believe that they are loosing grip on the game in every aspect- both fiscal and on field!

Posted by Shankar Anand on (March 6, 2008, 8:26 GMT)

I entirely agree with Mukul that BCCI does not owe anything to other criket boards.

Philip John Joseph: Please get your facts right. I want to answer your points. What was the average salary of an NBA player in the first year of NBA? Take that amount and multiply it x number of times to compensate for the inflation. You still we be way short of Dhoni's IPL pay of today.

When people say IPL is based on the EPL or NBA model, you should not be going around comparing the money that is generated by these leagues established decades ago and IPL which has not had its first season yet.

And you may think that BCCI is not so rich after all. But the fact is that it is the richest cricket board in the world today - miles ahead of anyone else.

The 'absurd' amount that ICC is getting for its television rights is not because ESPN-Star patronises the game and is willing to spend billions, but because there will be millions of pairs of Indian eyes watching the game on TV.

Posted by Rohit on (March 6, 2008, 8:25 GMT)

Philip John Joseph you really think Indians are proud and feel they have arrived because IPL is feeding million dollar salaries to a few Indian and foreign players?Your comparison to American basketball makes no sense whatsoever,America has a ten times bigger economy,more interest in sports and the professional leagues there have been established for several decades now.It seems you are rattled and somewhat jealous that a bunch of third worlders could actually setup an enterprise which entices foreign talent,thats what IPL basically is,not a symbol of India's national pride,though maybe a reflection of the country's growing economy.

Posted by Bone on (March 6, 2008, 7:41 GMT)

Mukul, your response (to my earlier post) is quite correct if the issue was players money making potential. Im sure Chappell has no objections to players making money. There is no injustice at play here from a players point of view, the ICL situation excluded. You must remember Chappell campaigned for years on player payments before WSC, this is not about players getting fair pay, this is about (for Chappell) a cricket board controlling the game potentially to the detriment of other cricketing nations. As for the certificates from a players cricketing board, what do you think would happen if some of the boards of the other countries refused permission?

A domestic comp should not be controlled by anyone else other than that countries board but he has a legitimate concern about the worldwide impact of this comp. As I said, criticize his logic not his WSC involvement. Argue why he is wrong to believe the BCCI cannot be trusted to protect the best interests of the game

(The 'best interests of the game' tends to depend on who you are. For me, the best interests of the game would mean nurturing Test cricket, reverting to five match Test series and radically curtailing the number of limited overs matches played every year. As I said in my post, I wouldn't trust the BCCI to do anything to achieve those aims: it's leadership routinely replaces Tests with one-dayers.

But sooner or later, given the appetite for cricket in this country and a booming stockmarket, a franchised Indian league was going to happen. If it hadn't been the IPL, it would have been the ICL. India is the largest cricket market in the world and it is a market with no real interest in any other sport. It's low-hanging fruit for the savvy Indian businessman.

Boards in other countries are entitled to be worried, but it would help if they summoned up the courage to say no when the BCCI is overbearing (as it is in the case of the ICL) To cower when a bully growls and then to be plaintive about injustice and passive-aggressively ask for a share in running someone else's company or a share of the money as if it was owed you, isn't sensible or robust or defensible. It's a little pathetic. You might ask yourself (given that you and I are agreed that domestic competitions should be run by the country's board) why Chappell and Lloyd think otherwise. I did, and I found no rational answer.

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by Philip John Joseph on (March 6, 2008, 7:33 GMT)

Okay, I must say that a lot of this is really just hype. Let's talk facts. The AVERAGE salary of an NBA player has already crossed 2 million dollars a year. Dhoni get's less than the NBA average and Dhoni is the most expensive cricketer in the IPL. This shows that the IPL is a joke as far as world sport is concerned, and really a lot of Indians are getting excited about nothing. As I said before, Forbes has stated the value of the poorest Major League Baseball baseball team to be greater than the value of the BCCI. This shows that really, the money on show in the IPL is a joke and the Indians are getting high on nothing. That Ian Chappell is getting scared of all this non-existent money shows how pathetic Australia is. Remember all that hype about Mukesh Ambani being the richest man in the world? Well Forbes checked that out and found he was almost 20 billion dollars off, despite all that assistance from the falsely inflated Indian stock market .... IPL? Bah, humbug ....

Posted by peter on (March 6, 2008, 6:51 GMT)

The author writes fiction. That is the most accurate description of his posts. He makes Bill Lawry seem imparial*. Xenophbia* reigns!!

(*impartial, *xenophobia. MK)

Posted by Ranajit on (March 6, 2008, 6:35 GMT)

It's all very fine that players are making money. Great, I hope more players across the globe benefit. But I do object to the BCCI armtwisting other boards to ban ICL players. If there is any question of compensation, it should be the BCCI compensating boards like New Zealand for making them ban their best players. I know money can't buy a replacement for Shane Bond, but it can be used to set up a fast bowling academy to create future Bonds. Likewise, counties in the UK should be recompensed for the BCCI's childish obsession with vendetta. No one gives the BCCI the right to decide whose careers should be destroyed just because they signed up with the rebel league. I used to be in favour of the IPL; now I don't think its worth my time.

Posted by Danny on (March 6, 2008, 6:21 GMT)

Superb article man! Way to go!

Posted by swingtime on (March 6, 2008, 6:20 GMT)


Since you mentioned professional football leagues as a model in your other article, let me remind you that

- firstly FIFA sits atop of the regulatory tree of world football in terms of unified playing calendar and player transfer/eligibility rules.

- secondly national football associations and professional leagues in the top countries are separate organisations while IPL is effectively an arm of BCCI at present.

(Useful points, swingtime. I'd be delighted if the IPL and its franchise holders dump the BCCI and run it with a CEO. But even if that were to come to pass, I can't see why the IPL would channel money into the coffers of other boards, which is what Chappell and Lloyd seem to think the ICC should make it do.


Posted by Sridhar on (March 6, 2008, 6:14 GMT)

Good article, Mukul, but I have a few questions for you: a) There is no problem if IPL does not succeed. But what is more likely -if does only moderately well, then the franchises might want more to make profits. So the current calendar of just six weeks can become six weeks twice a year or thrice a year(Note this comment from O & M chairman “What we have to figure out is how to keep the IPL alive from June 2 this year to the next tournament. How do you keep the local fan base excited about IPL for one whole year?") This would mean less international cricket and the smaller countries may suffer because of this. b) Lalit Modi & co have displayed the kind of brazen behaviour which can only attract derision. (Note these comments from him-" some of the srilankan players will have enough money from IPL to fund the SL ckt board" and " we can take players without the NOCs" or "ICL cricketers have no future") - this kind of arrogance can be frightening for the other cricket boards.

Posted by Jay on (March 6, 2008, 6:06 GMT)

I can't see the IPL being anything more than a nine-day wonder for the public, comparisons with the EPL and the NBA are way off track. So although you say that there is nothing to lose, I think there is a lot to lose in terms of the integrity of the game itself. Why would any aspiring Tendulkars or Kumbles look beyond the narrow confines of the T20 format, why even contemplate the hard yards and sweat and toil of Test matches. In effect, the BCCI and the IPL are conspiring together to sound the death knell of Test cricket; whatever happens, Lalit Modi, arrogant and unctuous by turn as befits the occasion, will add to his billions.

Posted by Supratik on (March 6, 2008, 5:49 GMT)

(contd) Further, I don't agree with BCCI-IPL banning ICL. This never works to anyone's benefit. Only goes to prove that this whole venture is about brinkmanship by a hedonistic cricket board flaunting its filthy riches. A Board that cannot manage itself in basic matters like spectator comforts in its stadium (read cauldrons), doesn't have a website which should be informative at the least and stakeholder (cricket follower) friendly at its best can't pretend to be the most powerful board in the world and browbeat others. And here is where i disagree with your take on Chappell. If apart from England and Australia all the other boards are struggling to stay afloat, what will happen when BCCI will have all the money but no one to play against! The West Indies scenario should be an eye-opener. We don't want to go back to the veto power days of the MCC-CA combine, even if is BCCI who have not been convincing so far and will not be till they clean up their backyard.

Posted by Supratik on (March 6, 2008, 5:37 GMT)

Hi Mukul,

A very well thought out article, though I feel you have been a tad harsh on Ian Chappell. I remember your article 6 years back on the franchised out domestic cricket (in Wisden Asia?) the idea of which I had then thought was funny, but hey presto you were right in a way! On your article I have two issues. I don't think it will be a long-term success, though T20 cricket will be as it already is. There will be novelty in the sense that a Calcutta supporter will egg on Shoaib Akhtar to dismiss Bombay's Tendulkar, but this will wear off. T20 dose in short bursts is okay but will wear thin over a period of time. Its a bit like heavy metal! T20 International games if their quantity is managed will thrive for a long time. And as you say else where I feel the same way that one-day cricket might become extinct, but Test Cricket will survive the day, probably for a minority like us, but it will.


Posted by Madan on (March 6, 2008, 5:36 GMT)

I agree to the extent that it's BCCI's brainchild and they deserve every penny made of it in a capitalist world...that is, so long as every penny is fairly made. In a capitalist world, you can also sue and claim huge damages from an offender, who will pull up the BCCI? BCCI has no business butting into other boards' affairs and coercing them to ban players joining ICL. It is a no-brainer that without this embargo on ICL, a lot of international stars may not have been available to IPL and the franchisees too would not have parted with big money to run the leagues. To that extent, BCCI should lend a helping hand to the New Zealand Board first of all and then Pakistan, who too are seeing an exodus of players to ICL. Either players who join ICL are eligible to offer themselves for selection in international tournaments or BCCI compensates those cricket boards which are most affected by this BCCI-imposed ban. BCCI simply can't have the cake and eat it too.

Posted by swingtime on (March 6, 2008, 5:14 GMT)


I'm disappointed that you have to stoop so low as to question the motives of Chappell and Lloyd instead of just arguing on merit.

Chappell in his argument is not even overly concerned about the wellbeing of the bigger boards like England and Australia. It's the small countries that are being completely undermined at the moment.

ICC, at the behest of BCCI, is helping BCCI enforce a monopoly on Twenty20 league cricket worldwide and force boards to sack players who sign up for ICL. How is the interest of NZ criket and world cricket being served by banning Shane Bond? The fundamental problem is that IPL is a vehicle of BCCI, and therefore is able to dictate terms to other national boards through BCCI's rising dominance in world cricket governance.

Posted by Mahesh on (March 6, 2008, 5:12 GMT)

Well said. Any one, be it BCCI, Essel group, Govt. of India, the USA, Fidel Castro, anyone can and should be able to organize their own sports league with their own money. Players will join as long as there is no better alternative, just like any rational individual would - read Ponting's comments or See Bond's choice. As long as fans pay to see these players play and the ones who invested get the returns they expected, everyone is happy. If the other boards want money they should ban their players from playing IPL. Let the players decide where they want to play. If they do decide to not play for IPL, the owners of IPL will be forced to pick from the willing or pay the boards. I for one think IPL will go the former route and increase the schedule, damaging other boards more. There is no incentive to pay - I will not if I own IPL. Alas I don't!

Posted by Mohan on (March 6, 2008, 4:58 GMT)

Mukul, I understand where you are coming from when you say you fear for Test cricket's future. But keeping our personal tastes aside, let's accept that the present international cricket structure is a huge drain on the Indian economy. Effectively, whenever Indian team plays abroad or in an ICC event (like World Cup), what we are doing is importing cricket matches from foreign boards or ICC at a huge cost - close to $200 million per year. Whereas in the case of IPL, as Venki noted above, most of the money generated stays within India. Sure, we pay the foreign players, but that is nothing compared to what we are paying the foreign boards to watch the matches. Also, IPL will lead to other economic activities within the country. Stadia will be upgraded, merchandises will be sold, etc. I think from that perspective every patriotic Indian should hope that IPL replaces international cricket as the main source of cricketing entertainment.

Posted by shan on (March 6, 2008, 4:09 GMT)

For gods sake, this is IPL(I for Indian not international). I cant understand all this fuss from other boards & players. There is this thing called 'CHAMPIONS 2020', u can have power & profit share in that. BCCI will help u guys to make that a success by bringing big sponsors. All boards should shut up - they r already making big money with India touring their countries. Money which they cant dream of. Even CA, 2nd richest board, dies to play with India every year.

If BCCI is so generous to share its profits from IPL with other cricket boards, THEN i feel very strongly every INDIAN should protest that BCCI must develop all other sports in INDIA actively FIRST. In the context of IPL, INDIAN interests must come FIRST & LAST.

BTW, mukul, i feel to extend the rule to not to exceed $5m cap for the 2nd round of auction is to help Jaipur team to pouch as many good players available as possible. We all know where Mr.Modi comes from. Do u feel the same???

Posted by vijayendra on (March 6, 2008, 3:44 GMT)

Hey Mukul no article on India's historic tri-series win???

Posted by 4cric8 on (March 6, 2008, 3:39 GMT)

I agree with MK, and I think several folks are missing one of his main points, which is that: It's hypocritical of Ian Chappell and David Lloyd to ask for global management of the IPL when the other major domestic league that uses a lot of foreign players - English county cricket - is not being globally managed. And while the Packer league may not be as good an analogy to the IPL as county cricket, it's certainly sanctimonious of Ian Chappell to be moaning about the IPL when he laughed all the way to the bank as a result of the Packer league. And like Mukul, I have no love lost for the BCCI and the way they throw their weight around - but that still doesn't explain the comments by Chappell and Lloyd. There are other ways to deal with the impact of the IPL without asking for global management. Perhaps after the BCCI has behaved like a nouveau riche adolescent for a while, they may actually use India's new economic power more wisely and subtly - but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by Bone on (March 6, 2008, 2:44 GMT)

Agreed, it is silly to suggest that the BCCI give other cricketing boards a slice of the pie for what is an Indian domestic competition, reguardless of the international players.

As for Chappell, his involvement in WSC was because the ACB (like other cricket boards around the world) refused to fairly compensate it's players for the time and effort required to play international cricket. Packer just provided the vehicle (for his own reasons of course). So it is a bit of a long bow to suggest someone who fought a plainly unfair situation has no right to comment and critize something he see's as potentially harmful to cricket - don't attack the man for WSC, critize him for his logic. My own belief on Chappell is that he has always had the games wellbeing at heart, as Australian Captain, as WSC rebel and as a commentator whether or not I have agreed with his actions or veiws. He is right about one thing - BCCI's first loyalty, it seems, is not cricket but money. A shame that!

(If the present generation of players stand to make a pile of money from the IPL, why isn't this is an historical extension of the process that Packer began, of properly compensating first-rate cricketers? Footballers and golfers make obscene amounts of money from a middle-class perspective, why shouldn't elite cricketers? Chappell with his WSC history should be able to see that. My point is simply this: people who took Packer's shilling unconditionally, shouldn't get fastidious when the BCCI sets up a money-making opportunity for a later generation of players. And no one's forcing players to join, or stealing them. The BCCI like a good Indian bureaucracy only allows players to be auctioned if they produce a No Objection Certificate from the their parent board!

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by Ajit on (March 6, 2008, 2:40 GMT)

Mukul , how much did you get from BCCI for writing this BS? as an Indian reading this , please dont tell me BCCI interests are my interests , because they are simply two opposite things. sharad pawar and lalit modi making money on behalf of banning true entertainment like Shane Bond and thousands of others for what greater? more money in the pocket of BCCI? as a person watching two hours of TV , I want entertainment and the best way to get it is by sharing profits with different players from different countries and producing better players.

(But the IPL seems to be doing just that: handing out absurd amounts of money to players from different countries? Your point is?

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by B M on (March 6, 2008, 2:25 GMT)

Kudos Mukul. This is about free markets. An organization has a business proposition & there are stake holders - it just so happens that the proposition revolves around cricket. Let the stakeholders decide if this venture succeeds/fails. Why would ICC have to get involved? If the traditional version of the game as we know it takes a back seat its because a part of the stake holders (audience!) agreed to it - signs of free markets working!

Change is the world order!

(Most of the time I want the IPL to fail because my game as a spectator is Test cricket and the prospect of Twenty20 cricket becoming a permanent El Dorado makes me nervous about Test cricket. Then I tell myself that Twenty20 will probably put One-Day cricket out of business, not the long game, and feel cheered up because that can only be a good thing.

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by venki on (March 6, 2008, 2:04 GMT)

IPL is a concept which germinated out of BCCI's idea and it is stupid to suggest that it should be globally managed. Only reason somebody would suggest is simple envy or they cannot stomatch the the fact that Indian cricket is financially so powerful. IPL can bring a lot of good to indian cricket and indian economy as this goes a long way in keeping the money generated out of indian cricket within india. If properly planned IPL could generate a vibrant economy around its league and franchise and bring employment to small segment of indian populace

Also BCCI should not share the IPL money or any other spoils coming out of IPL with other cricket boards.The perfect analogy would be for requesting Western countries particulary US, England and Australia to subsidize our IIT's,Medical and engg universities because most of our highly educated young men and women are working in those countries.Let the market mechanism work and nobody forced indian youth or overseas cricket players

Posted by Mohan on (March 6, 2008, 1:55 GMT)

universal: BCCI is already spending crores to upgrade stadia in all IPL cities because they know that unlike a match involving "Indian" team, fans won't throng the stadium blindly unless they are provided a good atmosphere to enjoy the evening.

I agree with Mukul. There is absolutely no need for bcci to compensate other boards. I do hope IPL goes on to be successful and maybe even replace international cricket altogether. I disagree with Mukul where he says above "how can IPL survive without high profile international cricketers". The high profile cricketers will come from IPL itself. Kids in Australia and England will grow up dreaming of playing in IPL rather than for their country.

Posted by Waqar on (March 6, 2008, 0:05 GMT)

- Chappell is a disappointing soul in my opinion. I've never seen him come up with a logical debate.

- I think Lloyd's just too excited as always, so he wants to have his say.

- I wouldn't agree with 'em but they have every right to have their say.

- IPL with the Twenty20 format is good for whoever's making money out of it; it's not doing much for cricket in general.

- I do like the idea of two innings in Twenty20.

- I see 50 over cricket being a bygone era.

Posted by Jetty on (March 6, 2008, 0:01 GMT)

I agree with the Mukul.. Theres no reason BCCI should share the revenue with other boards.. people working for other boards if they need assistance they can come work for BCCI.. IPL may end up payin other boards as everyone knows its tryin to restrict international players joinin ICL... IF IPL doesnt pay other boards we may see these other boards lettin their players join ICL without restrictions

Like Mukul wrote in his article " Kerry Packer never promised to share revenues with ICC Y ask BCCI?? "

I never saw American leagues payin up sharin revenues with other other international boards for lettin their players play in America. International boards shouldnot expect it from BCCI.. Thas all I say.

Posted by Fiona Godfrey on (March 5, 2008, 23:59 GMT)

I can't comment as I think England should be banned for test matches - sooo boring they are now harming the game

Posted by Nick G on (March 5, 2008, 23:47 GMT)

I think the Indian administrators have stopped looking past next week. Let's extrapolate the current situation out a bit: a) Some players get into the IPL each year, hurrah. b) Some who don't go to the ICL, get banned from international cricket, country cricket, club cricket and beach cricket. Ergo, international cricket is weakened. c) Cycle continues. Less and less top international cricketers are "allowed" to play by the ICC.

How about this model:

1) ICC sets aside a window for this competition so that it doesn't clash with international cricket 2) Each national board frees up to 6 players to go into the auction 3) 50% of what the players get bid for, they keep. The other 50% goes back to the national board to use as they wish (most likely to keep other players from joining the rebellion, fund domestic cricket, whatever...)

This seems to be more sustainable than the current practice of grabbing cash and banning all who you can't profit from...

("50% of what the players get bid for, they keep. The other 50% goes back to the national board to use as they wish (most likely to keep other players from joining the rebellion, fund domestic cricket, whatever.." I think that's a great suggestion: gives national boards a stake in the tournament, gives their players a nice little nest egg and avoids the daftness of claiming that the BCCI owes other boards a living.

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by leartiste2001 on (March 5, 2008, 23:00 GMT)

There is a massive difference between the IPL and Packer's World Series Cricket. Packer was a cricket lover who wanted the world's best cricketers to be fairly compensated for their skills. Most of the international cricketers of his era were not full time professionals and had to make massive personal and financial sacrifices to play for their countries - while more and more was being demanded of them by their respective boards who were reaping huge financial rewards and giving very little of it back to the players. Packer always saw his initiative as a short term solution to this terrible injustice. To say that he succeeded is a gross understatement. Today's full-time millionaires owe everything they have to Packer and his generation otherwise they would still be getting paid peanuts. The IPL hasn't done anything to convince anyone that its motives are other than questionable. I have not yet seen anything come out from the subcontinent that is not steeped in corruption or nepotism.

(Nice! All the more reason not to ask to share that filthy lucre.


Posted by Andy on (March 5, 2008, 22:53 GMT)

When I read Ian Cahppel's comments,I was flabbergasted. I couldnt understand why the BCCI should "recompense" any other Board.

It is an individual choice for players as both Ricky Ponting and Symonds have made very clear in Australian press. ( Symonds column in an Aussie paper is now gone after CA rejected it twice for speaking up in favor of IPL and against CA interference)

Lets see if CA can stop Syminds from earning $1.5 m in 14 games, SL stop Sangakarra and co. from making more money in 44 days then they will in years. They cant.

BCCI should put the mooney into Indian stadiums, academies and hopefully towards other sports. Let the other countries start their own Leagues!

Posted by Mawali on (March 5, 2008, 22:39 GMT)

Mukul; you need to start using the energizer in your time machine. welcome to the new world order. This love affair with the classics like test cricket, purity, tradition and the rest of the dribble is history . Welcome to the new world order; Cricket for all its romance and fat and flabby players is a game that is played for money. Well guess what the new don in the world cricket is not England or the uncouth Aussies but India. Do you think for a moment that given half the chance or money or brains England and Australia would not pull this stunt? Don't bet your mortgage on that! IPL is a reality and will be if the plan and the money sustain it. There is no doubt that IPL/ICL and other such adventures will change World cricket. It may even make cricket extinct in some countries. One thing is for sure with the prize money at stake those cricketers pretending to play for lesser countries will protect their assets for bigger money. New cricket will be the NBA, big, heavy, lazy & rich AMF

Posted by Sumit on (March 5, 2008, 22:25 GMT)

Why dont other boards collect money from their players for allowing them into IPL.

And what is happening to Sanjay Manjrekar...

Nobody is expecting all Indian ex-cricketers to support this . But if you want to disagree be like Bishan Singh Bedi

Posted by Oliver on (March 5, 2008, 22:16 GMT)

At the end of the day it's all about money, whatever angle you look at it from. We all know money means power, and power is always susceptible to abuse. So the IPL, the way it has been organised, promulgated around the world and especially the auctioning of the players, represents this abuse of power by the BCCI.

I agree with posters here who state that this money can be better spent making international cricket more competitive, rather than degrading the soul of players by making them selling commodities or brining this Twenty20 competition, which has adverse effects on ODI and Test cricket anyway.

Why can't the money making giants spend more money building academies, hiring expert coaches who can use more technology training players etc?

It will be interesting to see how the public responds to IPL. Most people I met commented that ICL would not work, but it did!

Anyway, this topic at hand was discussed quite comprehensively at

Posted by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (March 5, 2008, 21:30 GMT)

Mukul, should we call you "Oh, White Whale, we bow in front of you for predicting the future correctly?" If you can predict something like this happening SIX years ago then, why can't you be sure whether the IPL would work in the long term or not? Watching it's pattern, it is much easier to predict the long term results. And, most people who can foresee the future by making an educated guess are called visionaries, so go ahead and be one. In your thread, you have mentioned the views of Ian Chappell, David Lloyd and Sanjay Manjrekar on the subject of IPL and its management, but ignored the best article so far written on cricinfo i.e., is by Osman Samiuddin. He had the guts to call spade a spade, instead of praising the rising sun or the tide, he stood up and said what others feared to utter. I have said this before and reiterating my point again, the players when they are not playing for their country will not have the same passion and, playing for money alone is not the same spirit in which cricket is played. This whole shebang of players masquerading in designer style cat-walks and showing off their price tags and feeling good that, "I am more expensive than you," is similar to a bawdy house character.

Posted by ilikethisblog on (March 5, 2008, 21:10 GMT)

"Globally Managed" in this instance is an euphemism for 'please give the big dog a bone'.

The insecurity is understandable. Say Kabaddi became a huge sport, and say some of the top Kabaddi players are Indian, but 99% of people in Senegal ar crazy about the sport and Senegal starts a Kabaddi league. Indian officials would be whining about control.

When Stanford gets his act together and his 20/20 league takes off, somebody else is going to start another leauge (Australia/England?). Then global management would happen as a natural consquence. The football leagues - la liga, Premier League, Bundesliga - coexist with FIFA. Cricket would reach that point.

Posted by Fanon on (March 5, 2008, 20:25 GMT)

Its incredulous aclling for global management of what is India's, sorry the BCCI's, version of a regular international league - practically the first of its kind in cricket. They dreamed it up, they have so far made a roaring financial and media success of it and it their right to manage their competition without undue interference. If other cricket management organisations, national or international, want a cut they should put up their own competition (unlikely).

As Mukul says so what if the idea fails, I too have no sympathy for the investors or even care for it myself. Its mindless bash for cash stuff. I rather watch international cricket and even ODIs, atleast they have some substance as type of narrative or story - which is why they retain their attraction to this day.

Packer began WSC because he was denied broadcasting rights of tests by the ACB. Given ChappleI's history with the WSC his call for global management of the IPL is hypocritcal and reactionary

Posted by universalrampage on (March 5, 2008, 19:29 GMT)

Why and how does it matter that the BCCI is an Indian firm? You are giving the swadeshi logic and it really does not matter whether the big money is Indian-controlled or foreign-controlled. How does it make any difference whether you buy Tata or Fiat? The average Indian player or Indian cricket is not going to benefit from this in any way. Already a 100 Indian young cricketers have been banned by the BCCI, and the IPL is seeking only 4 locals per team. Its no different from English football. Get the stars from everywhere for EPL and get out in the first round of World Cup soccer. Of course a certain segment of the English-speaking Indians - the brown sahibs can feel happy and glad that other brown sahibs are picking fights and winning against the white man. You may also feel happy about that. I dont. In fact Lalit Modi is a beast. He is just a monopolist. If he invests this money to build a big cricket stadium in every district HQ its good, but he will not.

Posted by hed_sh on (March 5, 2008, 19:28 GMT)

Rather than BCCI willing to share the profits, they should invest in creating more stadiums/fields for kids to play. If they have that much money to give away to australia and other boards, then BCCI can invest that money in other sports in India like hockey, tennis and athletics. The govt should seriously consider taxing the BCCI as it has become a profit making venture if the BCCI tries to give away money to CA/ECB. I would rather have the BCCI take over the management of other sports in India now that they seem to have comepetent managers and try to invest the extra money in other sports infrastructure. Certainly they can manage cricket stadiums in such a way to also play hockey/soccer in them. Similar good ideas and Indian sports can be boot-strapped to cricket's popularity instead of handing out easy money to ECB/CA. Ian chappell needs to take the chill pill and settle for Indian dominance in cricket. If the BCCI were smart then they can get some goodwill by sponsoring other sport

Posted by Grud on (March 5, 2008, 19:23 GMT)

You never stop to amaze me. When I was reading that article "the round table" those were my exact thoughts you put on here. It could all be defined in one word, "business". It was BCCI's idea, it is BCCI's and Indian public's money, why the hell should anybody share? Now, I would agree that BCCI could develope some kind of cricketing schools and hence forths in countries like NZ and WI and help them that way, but why share money? But like you I do not have any praise for BCCI because they completely looted ICL. Modi might have thought about it when ICL thought of it, but ICL approached BCCI first. Also awesome idea of having a two innings in 2020...we can call it "Testing20". But it would only make sense for close matches or it could get as boring as a test match between Aus and Bangladesh or better yet Zim. Good thoughts Mukul (just because they match with those of mine). BTW What do you think of "Testing20"?

Posted by krish on (March 5, 2008, 19:20 GMT)

Hi Mukul, you got this one wrong. If you don't share the spoils, why would other boards let their players play in IPL? Without international stars no one is going to view IPL(There is no craze in India to see Ranji/Duleep matches,). By sharing the booty and little power, BCCI can increase the revune from IPL (infact get a global TV audience). Packer's circus ended up a loser precisely due to the absence of global presence (not packer's fault!, he was the discarded one)and this what IPL will end up if run by BCCI alone. Chapell advocates this because he has learnt from Packer's mistakes in the past. I am sure Lalit Modi and Pawar are very wise and will heed to power and money sharing option! Also Sony group(chief sponsors) aren't foolish to let IPL crash. Sense and global presence will prevail.

Posted by Pratik on (March 5, 2008, 19:12 GMT)

I agree entirely about your point on county cricket. ECB doesn't compensate other boards. To make it worse, the laws are such that it becomes easy for so many of the disenchanted South African cricketers to qualify and play for England. When ECB has no problems with hijacking the likes of Kevin Pietersen, whose formative years in school, university and initial first-class cricket was in SA, I wonder what high ground do they have in suggesting that BCCI ought to compensate other boards. Coming to the IPL, I would have preferred to see a smaller number of international cricketers per squad, maybe 4 players/team with max 2 foreign players playing in a single game. At the moment, the teams resemble bit of a world XI, with 4 foreign players/team/game being too much. ANd yeah, no doubt, 20-20 will eat into ODI (which may not be a bad thing) as well as tests (which IS disastrous). BCCI have unleashed a Frankenstein that will be tough to control in future.

Posted by Johnny Dangerously on (March 5, 2008, 18:34 GMT)

ATTENTION: Mukul hows your new car driving? How much did it take for you to take the candy? beware readers MK has been gotten to, read at your peril.

Posted by Sonu sam on (March 5, 2008, 18:28 GMT)

I agree with mukul.The IPL is an initiative made by the BCCI and the indian spectators are the ones who are going to finance it, quite obviously the money should go for the develeopment of cricket in india.The cricketers of the other countries are being paid well for their services,and why should the BCCI "recompense" (as ian chappel puts it)the WI and NZ boards?.They are not losing anything becoz of ipl as their players will be available for national duty when required,so i dont understand what's all the fuss about

Posted by Pratik on (March 5, 2008, 18:22 GMT)

Mukul, what are your views about the players and their arguably bloated annual salaries for the IPL?

Do you feel that the Indian spectator needs more cricket than is already existent?

Also, how does the IPL fit in to the Indian social structure? In a country where political leaders bank on any minutae societal differences to grab attention, what kind of effect can the IPL have? We recently saw violent reactions to Raj Thackeray's comments against 'outsiders' living in Maharashtra? Is the Indian public ready for the IPL? ... Or is this a very moot point?

Posted by Pratik on (March 5, 2008, 18:11 GMT)

Agreed that the BCCI need to expand the IPL concept to longer versions of the game.

But I disagree with the comparison between the BCCI and Packer. The motivations behind the two entities are not the same. The WSC was the result of Packer's inability to obtain TV rights in Australia, backed by under-paid cricketers around the world. Agreed Packer benefited financially through its success. But it also shook up the cricket world, prompting cricket boards around to give more financial say to their players. IPL success will only create a more gigantic financial monster of BCCI than it already is. It intends to transcend the ICC through the running of the IPL. Just look at the way it has reacted to the ICL.

Posted by Chetan on (March 5, 2008, 17:54 GMT)

Nice point Mukul.There is no need for BCCI to pay the other boards extra money.But personally, I think BCCI should be taken to court for its monopolistic deeds.How is IPL any different from ICL.And how do they have any right to censure any player who plays for ICL.We always cheer FOR India XI, not BCCI XI, and by that any Indian should have equal oppurtunity to represent India.So personally, I have decided to boycott IPL because of the monopolistic practices of BCCI, just as I have stopped using Windows operating system.

Posted by Alex Dackard on (March 5, 2008, 17:40 GMT)

There is something not right about this article. As a follower of International cricket for neigh a decade and half one thing stands out - competition is the true mantra. International cricket is the ultimate thing. IPL may well succeed but it will be years before it matches international cricket in following - and for some never. Competition in International cricket feeds every little offshoot, including IPL. Today, Australia and South Africa are consistently competitive; India, Sri Lanka, England have their days; NZ, Pakistan, WI are a concern, especially the latter two as great cricket dynasties on major downswing. That's the question - should (or can) IPL succeed (and maintain that success) at the cost of competition at International level? As an Indian I would love for IPL to succeed but never at the cost of highly competitive international cricket, that cost is too high for me. I would take an internatinal calender with eight competitive cricketing nations over IPL anyday.

(I would too, but why should we have to choose one over the other? I can't see how the IPL can survive without high profile international players. It may well sink even with them, but why should a two month league destroy international cricket when it's in the interest of the league to use the stardust and glitter that only one-day internationals and Test matches can supply. On the other hand, it can't be healthy to have a game that depends wholly on international matches for revenue. If the IPL helps create an economically viable form of club cricket, that can only be a good thing.

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by sameer on (March 5, 2008, 17:27 GMT)

Packer didn't get the rights then, so he came up with WSC. It is as simple as that. Zee have done the same with ICL. I do agree with you totally on the fact that Ian Chappell has absolutely no right to complain as he has been and would be the first in line to make a quick dollar or two. I do not understand why cash is always bad and why media is so worried about cricketers making big money. You don't see jaws dropping when Schumacher or Woods sign contracts. As far as the sharing of money goes, the idea is ridiculous from logistic point of view. If foreign players will not be playing, then we have enough talent in India to keep IPL running. I do not think the money needs to spread to the boards as they would anyway flaunt and waste it on useless stuff. The money is now going directly to players and that is great.

Yes, the game might take a bit of a hit with few players walking away an year or two earlier from national duties,but will at least secure their futures which is good too.

Posted by Scott on (March 5, 2008, 16:41 GMT)

Sorry but this article is far from accurate. With the ICL and players being inexplcably banned from future first class and international cricket the IPL's possible poaching of Carribean and English Domestic players during their domestic seasons are very worrying. Cricket as a whole is not served by players being banned because they signed with the wrong league. Further just for one second look outside of India- New Zealand will be destroyed internationally by the player exodus, and other countries will follow down that line. The bottom line is that the ICL and IPL could be fantastic for cricket and its supporters, but it could be disastrous for everyone else, not that I think the ICC at this point could care less. I thought the round table made a number of excellent points and I must say your analogy of the IPL=WSC is totally off the mark- the IPL is the establishment creating the breakaway not a magnate breaking from the establishment- an ICL=WSC analogy would be more accurate.

(I think you're right about ICL players being banned: that's just wrong and the other boards should just refuse to go along with the BCCI on that one. I'm not sure how the IPL is a breakaway league, though. Unlike Packer it's been set up with the concurrence of the ICC and I haven't heard of any board objecting to its existence. The Australian players who've signed up for it have done it with the knowledge of Cricket Australia. The ones who didn't want to sign up, didn't, like Michael Clarke and Andrew Flintoff (according to David Lloyd). "The bottom line is that the ICL and IPL could be fantastic for cricket and its supporters, but it could be disastrous for everyone else.." I don't understand this at all: if its fantastic for cricket and its supporters, how can it be bad?

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by Anonymous on (March 5, 2008, 16:39 GMT)

I entirely disagree with you. The problem is where players are being banned by national cricket boards for joining ICL or any league that competes with IPL. There ought to be something in return for the boards? Secondly, I personally think IPL shouldn't be required to pay to either boards or whatever other consideration there may be. But players like Bond shouldn't simply be banned for joining ICL. Why should boards have to ban their own players?

(That's a fair comment. The BCCI has no business asking other boards to ban players who choose to play for the ICL or Stanford's scheme for a Twenty20 league in the West Indies. The other boards should simply refuse to fall in line. If the BCCI doesn't like it, it'll have to consider its options. I don't see what it can do: it's not going to refuse to consider players from those countries for the IPL. Modi knows that the franchise owners won't take kindly to big names being ruled out. The ICC and the other national boards can and should pressure and lobby the BCCI to accommodate their interests: what they can't say is that we want a piece of the action or a say in its governance. If the BCCI has any sense, it'll magnanimously direct some of the revenue towards cricket development: but the idea that other boards have a claim on the IPL's revenue is mad.

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by Srivatsan on (March 5, 2008, 16:33 GMT)

You are spot on, Mukul. I believe that IPL should serve Indian cricket, Indian economy and Indian public. This is NOT a charity contest. If Poms and Aussies don't like, to hell with them. Take it or leave it. Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the New World Order in Cricket, where the center of the Universe is India.


Posted by shan on (March 5, 2008, 15:38 GMT)

I was happy unlike the hype surronding before auction, local players made more money. Still, i would like most of the money to stay in the country & after 3 yrs i hope they limit foreign players to 2 per team. I understand BCCI needs to satisfy other boards to support IPL & murder ICL. But after 3 yrs, wen the present contracts expire & IPL becomes a big brand, hope they limit foreigners and pay them less. Why on earth should IPL pay ponting more money for 15x3 hrs work than wat his home board pays him for 365 days long job. And how dare he is, to say he wants more money from IPL the next time. He should be more worried whether he will be playing in India safely.

Posted by shan on (March 5, 2008, 15:27 GMT)

I totally argee with Mukul.

Even though i dont like the way BCCI runs the game in India(We all know y a 60 yr old politican is suddenly so interested in cricket, sorry, Indian cricket. Indian cricket, survives becoz we r very religious & hav a pool of billion - thats y we see almost every player making their debut before 23), there r few reasons to feel excited abt IPL:-

1)Till yesterday, only 15-20 players made millions. Today another 40-50 domestic players will. If IPL expands to 16 teams, we hav 100 ranji players benefiting financially.

2)With franchise system, can expect good infrastructure for players & good customer-service for audiences - which BCCI was never interested.

3)By making such money thru domestic leagues, hope BCCI will now spare Team INDIA from playing non-stop international cricket

(to be contd)

Posted by Mahesh Krishnaswamy on (March 5, 2008, 14:39 GMT)

I agree entirely. I'm not sure what Ian Chappell and the others who want international governance of the IPL have been smoking. But what we do need is for governance of the BCCI [and by extension the IPL] to be improved.

Posted by Prabhakar on (March 5, 2008, 14:35 GMT)

I generally like your articles, Mukul. They are unique and eloquent. But even an ardent follower will say that in the last few articles, you have carried your cynicism to a questionable level.

Chappell and Lloyd are amongst the very best thinkers of the game. They proposed a point about IPL and as it stands out, it may not be valid. But to link their view as being the outcome of a foreigner not comfortable with Indian growth, is a bit too much. That might still be the case, but it might not be also!

And as you said what Chappell did with Packer was not right, but that doesn't make the subsequent things right just because they had happened earlier. I am a big follower of cricket and India in particular, but let's not colour everything with 'us' and 'them' attitude.

Posted by Bis on (March 5, 2008, 13:48 GMT)

The whole point about WSC, which you have clearly failed to grasp, is that Packer was aggrieved he was ostracised, an outsider etc. There was nothing better that Packer would have liked than to be sitting down with the great and the good of the cricketing establishment and it was their rejection of his overtures which caused him to unleash his earthquake.

All Chappell is saying is that rather than open up the prospect of a similar breach again, far better to integrate 20-20 and the IPL into world cricket by giving the global cricketing community a vested interest in the success of the IPL. As Chappell rightly says, the richer countries like Australia and England don't need the IPL anyway which is why no England player has yet signed up. On the other hand the cricketers from the poorer countries are queing up to sign up.

This exploitation, supported by you and your shortsighted and chauvinistic fellow travellers, is what Chappell, a renowned champion of the underdog, is criticising.

(I'm not sure I follow your point about WSC. Are you suggesting that it's okay to disrupt the cricket world if you're aggrieved (like Packer), but illegitimate to set up a league from within the system of international cricket (like the BCCI)? And where's the threat of the breach? I don't see any cricket board threatening to ostracise the IPL or boycott the League (which they're entitled to do if they think it'll work.) Your point about rich and poor countries doesn't seem to be borne out by the facts: lots of Australian players have queued up to sign on. And those who haven't, are welcome not to. It's a rich startup league, not the end of the world. I haven't heard Chappell urge Cricket Australia or the ECB to open its purse to the wretched of the cricketing earth, so I'm not sure why you think he's a 'renowned champion of the underdog". He's a fine commentator but he can be wrong!

Mukul Kesavan)

Posted by Pratik Chakrabarti on (March 5, 2008, 13:47 GMT)

I have generally enjoyed and liked most of your blogs, but I am sorry that I don’t agree with this one. I am not in favour of global management and your point about Packer is very well made. But not that of English county cricket, because the point about IPL is not solely about professionalism in cricket. It is about the kind of money involved and what cricket is becoming. I can understand why other cricket playing countries are becoming uneasy about BCCI and Indian cricket more generally, and we cannot be blind to that. Its not just jealousy it is about domination. In one of your earlier blogs, you had mentioned USA and the shock and awe. Well let’s accept that IPL is symbolic of BCCI’s cricketing domination and its strategy of ‘shock and awe’. And like any domination, it has to be condemned. Because the domination is not just over other national boards, but over other values as well. The auctioning of players and their families’ celebrations and at their monetary worth reflects the kind of society India has become or the values it has embraced. It was truly shocking.

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Mukul Kesavan
Mukul Kesavan teaches social history for a living and writes fiction when he can - he is the author of a novel, Looking Through Glass. He's keen on the game but in a non-playing way. With a top score of 14 in neighbourhood cricket and a lively distaste for fast bowling, his credentials for writing about the game are founded on a spectatorial axiom: distance brings perspective. Kesavan's book of cricket - Men in Whitewas published in 2007.

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