Champions Twenty20 League June 1, 2009

BCCI never asked for Champions League window - Modi

IPL chairman Lalit Modi has said the BCCI never asked the ICC to create a window for both the IPL and the Champions League. "We have never propagated that we should be part of the Future Tours Programme [FTP] for the IPL or the Champions League because I think there is a natural window for these two events," he said in London. "We never asked for one and we are never going to ask for one."

His statement comes in the wake of ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat's contradiction to Modi's earlier claims that the Champions League had been slotted into the FTP.

Modi clarified his original statement which was made on the IPL website recently, saying "there was a miscommunication as far as I'm concerned." He also said the BCCI had worked with the ICC to slot the Champions League this year and all Test-playing nations were part of that solution in terms of creating space for the tournament.

Happy at the success of the second edition of the IPL, which had to be moved at the last minute to South Africa, Modi said he was confident that various members of the ICC would sit together to find space for the events like the IPL and Champions League, which already have strong support the players and their unions. "Going forward we will be working along with members and work out a solution in the new FTP which is in discussion," he said.

Asked if the mushrooming of various Twenty20 leagues - the P20 is slated to take off in 2010 in the UK - may prove to be an overkill of the format, Modi strongly denied such claims. Instead he felt Twenty20 was a vehicle that would bring more crowds to the other two forms of the cricket. "We just finished the review of IPL in South Africa and have found that 70% of the people who watched IPL this year [in South Africa] never watched any form of cricket before. That's an astonishing figure. For a tournament like the IPL to be able to garner new audiences is critical for the growth of cricket. If we are able to get people to Twenty20 we are only enlarging the pie: you will see them go and watch one-day and Test cricket."

Modi was enthusiastic about exploring foreign venues for IPL games in the future, and did not rule out England as one of the potential venues. "Currently we haven't examined the UK yet. We just had a tremendous success in our first season outside of India," he said. "This actually now opens a whole new area for us and we are now going to be examining games overseas. Where and when will be played is still matter to be debated and studied. The cricketing calendar in England is full so that would have to be taken into account."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo