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IPL will not expand for eight years

Daniel Brettig

March 14, 2014

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Indian fans cheer on their side, India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 2, 2014
India could have gone their own way and left world cricket behind, Wally Edwards says © AFP
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India have committed to a freeze on the growth of the IPL over the next eight years, promising that the tournament will not expand beyond its current dates or spot in the calendar and so allaying fears that the BCCI would seek to expand the event into an outright competitor to international cricket.

While the BCCI has not formally signed an agreement to keep the IPL at its present size, the Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said "a commitment" had been made. As part of an interview with ESPNcricinfo to be published on Monday, Edwards revealed his concerns that the BCCI intended to "leave world cricket behind" unless a new Members Participation Agreement (MPA) was struck alongside changes to the ICC that better reflected the subcontinental nation's financial contribution.

He paralleled the looming scenario with that which confronted the Australian Cricket Board in the late 1970s, when Kerry Packer whisked away the game's best players to World Series Cricket after the board refused to entertain his desire for exclusive television rights to the game down under.

The limitation of the IPL's size to its current dimensions was a central goal of Edwards' talks with the BCCI president N Srinivasan, which began even before the Woolf Report into ICC governance was tabled in 2012 and immediately rejected by the administrators of numerous nations, including India.

"There was a very real chance that India would have gone on an IPL voyage and left world cricket behind. That was said more than once," Edwards told ESPNcricinfo during the recently completed Newlands Test. "If that had have happened, you were looking down the barrel of a Kerry Packer moment. It would have been easy to say 'they aren't going to do it, they want to play in World Cups', but that was a reality.

"We have a commitment from them that IPL will not change during this eight-year cycle. Dates won't change, the start date won't change and the length of the tournament won't change. They've given us that commitment and that was important to us. IPL is important to them, and to the world of cricket players who make a lot of money out of it, and we didn't want to see it grow. We've also negotiated with India to pay the countries more for their players. We've got good understandings on that, they've been very straightforward and I believe them."

Edwards had not been prepared to call India out on threats to go it alone, instead preferring to find a middle ground that has now been outlined via the ICC resolutions approved across a series of meetings in January and February. Numerous opponents of the resolutions have suggested that the BCCI's bluff should have been called, but Edwards said "second rate international cricket" may have been the outcome.

"Well why would you?" Edwards said. "If you can find a progressive way to improve the place, why would you take that chance, why would you do a Kerry Packer, where the Australian board just said 'bugger off' with the deal. Your guess is as good as mine what might happen. I don't know what would happen, and why would you risk it?

"Why would you risk turning the IPL into a travelling circus that would take all our good cricketers 12 months of the year and leave us with second rate international cricket. It's not a pretty thought. But it's possible, and they know that. Maybe in the end it will still happen one day, but I don't think it will happen in the next eight years."

Despite the progress of the ICC resolutions, which are now being nailed down in greater detail, Edwards revealed that the MPA for the next round of television rights was still to be signed by the BCCI. "India are strong and we've got to recognise that, but what we want them to do is be part of the decision-making process and be in the ICC rather than just turning up and being aggressive, angry and unhappy," he said. "That's where they are, they're unhappy.

"The reality is to this day we still haven't got an MPA signed yet for the next media rights cycle. ICC management has been trying for a year to get it signed and it still isn't. That has to be resolved by this next board meeting. That's one of the building blocks. They've said more than once 'you can have a World Cup but we won't be coming'. We can argue they might come, but will they come to Champions Trophy or a World Twenty20? They might not. I can easily see them not coming."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 15, 2014, 19:34 GMT)

@Greatest_Game. Totally agree with you re: Tests. Anyone with reasonable cricket knowledge who watched the recent test series would have walked away very satisfied. "Give away test cricket". I'm thinking the 91,000 people who turned up day 1 at the recent MCG Test may think differently.

Posted by baghels.a on (March 15, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

I want to rectfy my error, when i cited Rajat Bhatia's example i didn't mean to thank myself but was refering to the post by @snaidu2010 instead.

Posted by baghels.a on (March 15, 2014, 12:46 GMT)

@Practical_to change with times, they have no reservations when it comes to using a 21st century phenomena like internet to post there views, why not stick to old practices like posting handwritten letters to newspaper editorials why support DRS ?? why not respect the word of umpires as it was how in old days, why watch Cricket on TV with 20 odd person,exactly my thoguhts, these purists are still stuck in Victoraian age , they are unwilling cameras and facilities like video recording and rewind,pause etc, why not listen to match commentary on radio ?? when they have changed and evolved so much in these matters, then why not embrace all the other changes. how can 45 days of IPL threaten the fabric of intl.cricket, Why not belive the promise BCCI has made to Wally Edwards.

@Baghels.a , i agree with everthing you said, i coudn't have said it better...domestic cricketers like Rajat Bhatia have a right to exist and shine too, please don't begrudge there chance by questioning IPL.

Posted by Practical_person on (March 15, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

We have a lot of keyboard warriors in this forum. What have the purists done to make their legendary players more money? As long as players can make money and feed their families, format does not matter. Even if IPL is not real cricket so what? Is real cricket providing better livelihood for the majority of the cricketers? Are cricketers expected to be altruists to satisfy the purists' dream if they can't remunerate them? I look forward to hearing other fans' thoughts on this. Cricket has changed and it is time to move on. Cricinfo please publish.

Posted by baghels.a on (March 15, 2014, 8:15 GMT)

@milepost, we Indian fans don't care one bit if someone follows IPL outside India, perhaps you should because IPL provides more than decent employement to 50 odd Australian players and support staff in your off season,as far TV ratings are concerned a drop of few decimal point is hardly a decline, ratings of first IPL were too high anyways and to maintain it is unrealistic, attendences are full house and jam packed even for afternoon games where fans sit in open stands facing 45 degrees heat, tell me how many watch a Victoria vs NSW shield game ?? not more than 50 i guess. Forget about how many folks watch IPL outside India ,question should be how many people watch any cricket at all outside Indian subcontinent ?? Football is the overwhelming number one sport in England and apart from the posh set hardly anyone watches cricket, while in Australia silly kick and rush Aussie rules and NRL are top two sports and these are facts no one can dispute.

Posted by milepost on (March 15, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

IPL taking over international cricket? Is it April fools day? IPL ratings are dropping from season to season, it's governance is a joke and the format will eventually flop, as fads do. Nobody watches the IPL outside of India so how is it a threat to international cricket?

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 5:53 GMT)

most of ppl comments here are hard core cricket fan,but when u talk to general public ,they want T20,not test or even one day.i think its time let test and one day go and just have t20.its more fun

Posted by OttawaRocks on (March 15, 2014, 2:42 GMT)

The IPL won't expand for 8 years? Haha, the IPL will expand whenever the BCCI feels like it even if it precedes 8 years,

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 14, 2014, 22:27 GMT)

This is a ridiculous and CRAZY article. First of all, the IPL doesn't need to 'expand' beyond the current duration. It's already a 72 game tournament with a span of close to 2 months. Any format of cricket doesn't deserve such a lengthy rope. There needs to be balance. Tests, ODIs and T20s all need a fair share on the cricket calendar. Every set of fans need their own favourite version of cricket for entertainment and drama. Personally, I love T20s and ODIs but also respect test cricket for its history and tradition. So this meeting was uncalled for. Besides, the IPL needs at least a decade to firmly establish itself as a global brand. It's slowly but surely getting there with some necessary house-keeping owing to accountability and transparency.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 14, 2014, 20:52 GMT)

If the IPL ever succeeds to outcompete actual international cricket.... RIP cricket. The best thing to learn is that the Pakistanis (since not alreayd playing), the English, most of the South Africans, and all of the Australians would NEVER succumb to this. It would just end with India being kicked out of international cricket. This may come and hurt true Indian cricket fans on the long term and the IPL would just turn into the ICL after all this

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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