India news February 9, 2013

IPL snub led to BCCI's county refusal


A hard line adopted by the Indian board towards English county players practising in India has its roots in a much deeper dispute arising from the ECB's refusal to allow IPL teams to play exhibition matches in Ireland and Scotland.

The ECB holds the broadcast rights for both Ireland and Scotland and used its right of veto over televised fixtures in those countries to prevent what it saw as IPL infiltration on its own territory.

This dispute over territorial rights flared up again recently when seven counties intending to send players to the Global Cricket School, a privately-run academy in Mumbai, switched instead to Sri Lanka after the ECB and GCS officials advised the counties that potential visa issues made this the best course of action.

The counties - Yorkshire, Durham, Kent, Hampshire, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire - failed to receive permission to visit India from a muted BCCI as a stand-off between the Indian and England boards failed to be resolved.

Tensions surfaced at the end of the fifth IPL last year when the BCCI approached both Cricket Ireland and Cricket Scotland directly, to check if they were interested in playing exhibition matches against a team of IPL players from different franchises.

It is understood that Cricket Ireland's initial response to the offer was that they did not have sufficient funds to host the matches. In response, the BCCI said it would underwrite the players' costs and that the arrangement would therefore be financially attractive.

However, ESPNcricinfo has learned that the ECB then refused to sanction the matches in any circumstances because it was concerned that its lucrative broadcasting deal with Sky TV, which guarantees exclusive TV coverage of cricket in England, Ireland and Scotland, could be undermined in the long term by the alternative attraction of an IPL side playing in Ireland. The Sky deal underpins the survival of first-class cricket in England.

Under the terms of the ECB's deal with Cricket Ireland for 2008-13, it gained ownership of media rights for all Ireland's home international matches. In return, Cricket Ireland receives an annual fee, the chance to play in some of England one-day competitions should it so wish and coaching support.

Details of the new TV deal have yet to be officially revealed, but it would be natural both for Cricket Ireland to want to maximise its income whilst maintaining healthy relationships with the ECB. In the meantime, it remains uncomfortably placed between two boards in conflict.

Asked to clarify their respective position, all the boards involved - BCCI, ECB, Cricket Ireland and Cricket Scotland - declined to discuss the issues publicly. But it is clear that the ECB and BCCI both viewed each other's behaviour as hostile.

A BCCI official did say, however, that although communication channels between the two boards had not been closed, the ECB had a lot to explain before English county sides could be automatically welcomed again for developmental visits to India.

The official said: "Discussions are still on but it has to be a two-way process. We can't see how we can allow the counties to send their players to practice here when the ECB refuses to allow the IPL players to play even in Ireland. They must explain why they did it."

Irked by the ECB refusal, the BCCI had assumed a tough stance of its own. Last November, the ECB was forced to apologise to the Indian board for not taking the necessary approvals for the England Performance Programme (EPP) squad's tour of India.

Simultaneously, the Indian board's secretary Sanjay Jagdale pulled up the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), demanding an explanation as to why the MCA had allowed the EPP to play games in Mumbai without gaining clearance from the Board.

In the letter dated November 29*, 2012, Jagdale noted: "The Chairman brought to the notice of the house that there were instances where foreign teams were invited by state associations to play matches and attend practice camps. He advised all members not to entertain any foreign team without the prior permission of the Board."

*11:59pm, February 9: The piece had initially stated that the letter by Sanjay Jagdale had been dated November 31, 2012. This has been corrected.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Satish Chandar on February 11, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    While the whole world says - India should prepare fast bouncy tracks to develop the competancy abroad, why not say England to prepare slow and low tracks? If it is geographically and climatically not possible for them to do it, then same in reverse direction for India folks. With cricket in India promoted ONLY by BCCI, it is ECB's responsibility to ask their permission to practice in this nation. Will ECB allow BCCI's team to vcome over England for a period of time and play cricket for 3 months every year? No.. In fact, they banned Panesar to bowl to Sachin in nets in home series when he was not even in frame for selection. To be fair, everyone should be allowed to play everywhere. But this is not a fair world. If you are not giving to give an inch to anyone, don't demand inch from anyone.

  • Peter on February 11, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    No matter what the BCCI believe, you can't sell the same thing twice. As usual they're petty and argumentative without actually leaving any positive legacy.

  • Alex on February 11, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    While I don't like the idea of the ecb blocking games in Ireland, it's pretty obvious the bcci's intentions are neither a charitable gesture towards Irish and Scottish cricket, or an attempt to open up the tiny Irish and Scottish cricketing markets. I would have to ask better informed people to know what their intentions were.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Lets not hide it guys Ecb don't like IPL . U can check pietersen statements about Ecb liking it is only Ecb who is initially stopped eng players to play ipl on the excuse of playing county matches then bcci took now they don't want those English players who took stance that time.sending ur performance squad to any country where ur national team is already touring is undue advantage & that also without permission. Showing ur rights on another countries like Ireland ,Scotland & holland is also not a right thing if tomorrow ind promote cricket any region than India then is it india get right on them shame on u ecb

  • Rahul on February 10, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    ECB is destroying cricket by doin this. Not to forget how they r recruiting players from associate nations like Morgan into their team as ENG has never produced real talent like. Morgan trott KP panesar to name a few

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Good decision by BCCI. If ipl is denied to grow in ireland and scotland then bcci must never allow any english lad to play on indian soil unless its international tournament under icc jurisdiction.

  • Martin on February 10, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    @jimdavis - or instead of waiting for a statement you could read the article which explains the ECB pay a fee and provide coaching support and playing opportunities against County sides. Reading the article and THEN commenting is always a good idea.

  • Rauf on February 10, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @Dinesh Kerai. I don't think rest of the world has any problem with BCCI power. It's the abuse of power and my way or the highway attitude in BCCI that people don't like.

  • Bob on February 10, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    I've just read this:- "The BCCI has been fined Rs 52.24 crore (US$10m approx) by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for misusing its dominant position and indulging in anti-competitive practices." Surely this can't possibly be the same benevolent, liberal and philanthropic BCCI all you Indians in your millions are supporting... Someone please tell me it isn't...

  • Darren on February 10, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    No big loss, looking at the rather poor state that Indian cricket is in right now I think the ECB should look elsewhere to get some competition for the upcoming youngsters in this country. The facilities in the UAE are fantastic by all accounts and the ECB already have a good relationship in place with them. Maybe get a few more games in against the Pakistani team as, right now, they are a far more significant threat than India are in our aim of becoming the number 1 Test side in the world.

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