Politics March 5, 2008

ICL, IPL, what the hell?

However you look at it, these pantomimes are doing little more than milking the cash cow of cricket's popularity in India

Consider me a Luddite but I'm getting rather fed up with this proliferation of cricket leagues. ICL, IPL, what the hell? However you look at it, these pantomimes are doing little more than milking the cash cow of cricket's popularity in India.

At some point, probably not too dissimilar to the point in last year's World Cup when most people stopped caring less, people in India--yes even India--will stop caring less. The advertisers, promoters, sponsors, and deal fixers will have to dream up a new concept. In fact, I've stopped caring less about these tournaments already, except for a mild curiosity about the prospects of the band of Pakistani rejects, better known as the Lahore Badshahs.

We should care, of course, because other than the glaring error of a stupid greed-inspired excess of cricket, there is a sinister element to this drama that we mustn't stop complaining about.

The obscene spectacle of cricket boards dictating to players about which league they can or cannot participate in has rightly been identified as an unfair restriction of trade. Why should cricket boards order you to play in IPL but punish you for choosing ICL? Why should a cricket board ban you from playing domestic cricket in your own country or any other country if you decided to trot out for the ICL?

The Pakistan Cricket Board, for example, has developed a myopic approach that seeks to prevent its cricketers from gaining experience in any domestic tournament other than its own miserable leagues and the fatuous IPL.

The cartel created by the cricket boards is an abuse of power. The arguments used to favour IPL and restrict cricketers if they disobey are simply the demoralising gestures of arrogant bullies. But you can't expect the ICC to help cricket boards see the light since cricket's governing body has such a restrictive attitude towards its own events, right down to dictating which brand of God's own water spectators are allowed to consume.

Indeed, this preference for the "official" IPL is a complete contradiction to the league's commercial aspirations. A true market perspective would allow both leagues to compete and allow the winner to be judged by the public. Instead, we have the dismal sight of the world's cricket boards justifying, enforcing, and licking their lips over the IPL monopoly while they condemn ICL as unnecessary, threatening, and illegal.

I am a big fan of Twenty20 cricket. I greatly enjoy the spectacle of cricket in India. But not like this. World Series Cricket propelled international cricketers towards professional salaries and rightly gave them some clout. This year's two-league circus is an exercise in corporate clout and shameless money-grabbing.

It is far too easy to wax lyrical about the noble spirit of cricket but the ICL/IPL fiasco is bringing out the worst in our modern game.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 23, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    I don't even know what to say, this made thnigs so much easier!

  • testli5504537 on November 16, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    What is the benifit for the players playing ICL OR IPL

  • testli5504537 on March 14, 2008, 8:56 GMT

    Kammran you said 'I greatly enjoy the spectacle of cricket in India' is this when Pakistan are playing there and doing well? It must be because you have NEVER had a good word to say about India or Indian cricket. So for you to comment on something that you cannot change or have any influence on except maybe by encouraging your fellow 'Pakistanis' to not watch the IPL/ICL is a waste of time.

    IPL/ICL are here to stay and creating a Packer stlye league with the best players around can only be good for the game. Players learn from each other and I expect the fielding standards for one to be improved in India, not to mention fitness standards in general.

    In answer to Philip John Joseph - Ambani may not be worth 20 Billion dollars but Mittal is worth 22 Billion according to Forbes. You need to buy yourself a proper surname before you comment on the success, or otherwise, of India.

    IPL etc. is not only being financed and watched by Indians in India but by Indians abroad as well.

  • testli5504537 on March 14, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    Javedbhai I am happy that you care about the 350 million poor Indians. But once again wrry about the Pakistani poor first, at the very least the Indian gov. is doing something for its poor. Quit bashing the ICL and IPL, they are much better than the domestic garbage that Pakistan, India, and a bunch of other countries have. It may turn out for the better, so give it a chance.

    Philip John Joseph Why do you insist on being high and mighty on this blog? All I read from your posts are bland attacks on people writing on this board. Just how educated are you? The way you disregard everyone as "a very bad on" on any matter, it seems that you have a PhD. on all of these subjects. LEARN BASIC MANNERS, RESPECT PEOPLE AND THEY WILL RESPECT YOU. For example, if you look at American criticism, there are people with varied views BUT don't see them trying to lower any persons credential. They just argue their points. SO argue your points and get it over with.

  • testli5504537 on March 13, 2008, 20:15 GMT

    for me IPL and ICL are same. Cricket fans want to watch cricket, most of fans don't care what is the official status of this tournament. However, ICL is providing good watchable fun to us as we saw matches till now and saw the very interesting match between Lahore and Chennai and today its fun to watch azhar mehmood 5 wicket haul and imran nazir cracking innings.

  • testli5504537 on March 13, 2008, 19:15 GMT

    Hi Kamran. First thing first, I love your articles. Good job and keep it up. However, I am disappointed with your comments for ICL team calling them "Pakistani rejects, better known as the Lahore Badshahs." After all they are only trying to ear food for their families before the end of their career.

    Also I never understood why people are so against IPL and ICL. Every new concept is met with resistance. This is no different. All these leagues will do is bring in better infrastructure, revenue, better pay, and decent career to kids who might now make it to the final 12 in national team. Whats wrong with that? If nothing else then at least think about the job opportunities it will bring to people other than the cricket players...such as coaches, physio, marketers, accountant, finance, tourism etc. There are lots of indirect benefits and jobs created by both IPL and ICL.

    The concept of teams owned by private entity is not new. Just look at NBA, MLB, and NFL in USA. Give chance.

  • testli5504537 on March 13, 2008, 14:21 GMT

    Hey Guys I am riting for the first time. I loved the article for it had a different and objective perspective. However, I am sorry to say that some of the responses have not looked at the spirit of the talk, rather have taken discussions to a different tangent. We can get personal and let focus away from the issue mentioned, or like mature and logical individuals debate on issues rather than personalities. I am not going to respond to someone who makes a scathing remark at me after this. So, please continue with ur inputs on the subject and do not degrade each other and passionate cricket playing countries.

  • testli5504537 on March 12, 2008, 13:46 GMT

    Javed, Did you mean 'lose', 'loser' when you actually said 'loose', or 'looser' in your comments?

  • testli5504537 on March 12, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    the only problem i have with the IPL is that it will turn indian cricket into maybe the best in the world. with u-19 boys being drafted in, and cricket becoming a viable career option for even those that dnt make it to the national team, india will see a massive increase in its talent pool, whereas as at the same time due to monkey musharaf's policies, Pakistan suffers in every way imaginable. and wit the hon. dr nasim as head of pcb, things don't look too good. and kudos to the indians for coming up wit such an awesome money spinner. the indians watched the pcb, ecb and the saffies arrange domestic 20-20s wit success, and just look at the manner in which they came up with their version. the bcci must be saying "let us show you how to spin some REAL money"

  • testli5504537 on March 12, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    I wonder if someone took note that ICL has been pushed off the front page of cricinfo. I wonder again on how much influence these cricket boards have on this website.

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