Can't disrupt world cricket for own interests - IPL COO
Sundar Raman, the IPL's chief operating officer, has said India will have to accommodate the interests of other countries while planning its international schedule as the BCCI cannot "disrupt world cricket" to protect its own interests.
The scheduling of the international calendar has become an important issue after an ICC revamp proposed by the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia, suggested that the Future Tours Program (FTP) system be replaced with bilateral agreements between boards. Raman formed part of the "working group", along with officials from Cricket Australia and the ECB, behind the ICC's financial and administrative restructuring and he told a media gathering that the focus was on "reinventing" the FTP.
"If India say, 'forget everything, we will play at home December-January-February', my exaggerated view is that world cricket will collapse," Raman said. "Australia will not have a Boxing Day Test, South Africa will not have a season, Sri Lanka will not have a Test. So you are treading on a territory … India has to be accommodative.
"We can't disrupt world cricket so much at the cost of our own interest. Truth is, Australia don't tour for more than four weeks at a time except for the Ashes. India is happy to go on long tours. We want to have minimum two home seasons every year, but it's tough with the different weather conditions.
"We are trying to figure the best way out so that all 26 stadiums in India get a game. It's got to have Tests and one-dayers every year and we are planning in such a way that we prepare better for big events. Before the World T20, we'll play more T20s. Before the World Cup, we'll play more ODIs. We're trying to reinvent the whole FTP. And you know every year there's IPL and Champions League T20."
Raman also praised the "robust" IPL model despite the controversies surrounding the league. Brand IPL was hit last year after three Rajasthan Royals cricketers and Gurunath Meiyappen, the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings, were arrested on allegations of betting and spot-fixing.
A Supreme Court-ordered probe, conducted by the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel, stated that Meiyappan was found to have indulged in betting and passing on information, and in subsequent hearings, the court asked N Srinivasan to step down to ensure a free and fair investigation into corruption in the IPL. Srinivasan's reluctance to resign as BCCI president and act against Super Kings, a team owned by his company India Cements, had put the tournament under a cloud, especially when the first phase was moved to the United Arab Emirates.
The conduct of the event in the UAE has, however, led Sunil Gavaskar, the court-appointed BCCI interim president for the event, to reveal that the BCCI is considering hosting the Champions League T20 in UAE later this year.
"The success of the IPL here will make the BCCI look at this in a much different way than it has in the past," Gavaskar said. "Champions League here is definitely on the back of our minds."
Following the exit of the Sahara Pune Warriors franchise last year, the IPL returned to an eight-team format, which had been successful in the first three years of the tournament. Ranjib Biswal, the IPL chairman, said the BCCI has decided not to add any more franchises at least until 2017. The 2011 edition of the IPL featured ten teams, with two franchises drafted in, while the last two editions saw nine teams competing in the league after the Kochi Tuskers franchise was ousted on technical grounds.
The IPL governing council will take stock of the UAE leg which ends on April 30, Gavaskar said, at a May 3 meeting in Mumbai. Deepak Parekh, a leading banker, was named advisor to the IPL and he is expected to give his feedback on the matches he has seen so far, and present his suggestions on improving the IPL brand.