Will the Twenty20 bubble be next to burst?
Even the wealthy franchises of the IPL are feeling the effects of the global economic downturn as sponsors withdraw, writes Mike Atherton in the Times.
Now all eyes will be on the IPL in April, as the second season gets under way. Already the signs are that franchise-holders are finding things tougher in the second year after an average shortfall in revenues of $4million last year. Rajasthan Royals, last year's winners, are without a sponsor, while Kolkata Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers have lost principal sponsors.
The warning signs were flashing red for the co-owner of Kings XI Punjab recently when he said: “These are difficult times and we need to work out ways to make sure that all the franchises survive.” Another franchise director, unable clearly to grasp that the present crisis is all about the flow of credit, said: “There is a cashflow crunch, not an endemic problem.”
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo