Player-related issues top IPL agenda
Senior officials of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are due to meet owners of the eight city franchises in Mumbai on Friday in an attempt to sort out issues related to the availability of players for the inaugural tournament. There has been some concern among franchise owners on this count, especially given the fallout of the controversial Sydney Test and Cricket Australia's stance on its sponsors' rights.
The IPL chairman and commissioner, Lalit Modi, said the franchise owners - who include industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Vijay Mallya and Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta - will be introduced to venues, associations, marketing guidelines, sponsors and promotional events.
Modi also said the meeting would also discuss the players' auction, which will be held from February 18-22.
A recent controversy to have cropped up surrounds Cricket Australia's insistence that its sponsors' rights be protected if its players participate in the IPL. Modi, who has gone on record to say the IPL will, if necessary, be held without Australian players, today said he was confident the differences would be resolved soon. "This [protection of CA's sponsors] is not acceptable and we have told them. This will go away by the evening," he told PTI. "When the Australian cricketers play in county cricket, they (sponsors of CA) don't get protection."
Another sticking point with CA is Adam Gilchrist's participation in the IPL; tournament rules say any player must serve a two-year hiatus between retiring from the game and joining the IPL, which would rule Gilchrist, who exits the game after the current CB Series, out for the next two seasons. Modi, though, was confident that he would be involved. "He will need a No Objection Certificate [from CA] but if need be we will remove that clause," Modi said.
The meeting in Mumbai is also expected to clarify the international schedule at the time of the six-week Twenty20 tournament, which is scheduled to begin on April 18. Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, said that it would extremely difficult for players engaged in international cricket to be available to play in India. "The ICC's future tours programme is fixed till 2011 and there is no way it will change because of the IPL," he said.
The IPL also made two high-level appointments. IS Bindra, the president of the Punjab Cricket Association, has been made chairman of the Grounds and Infrastructure Committee. He is expected to submit a report to Modi after inspecting the match venues. The IPL also appointed Sundar Raman, managing director of the media buying house MindShare, its CEO. ."