Indian Premier League April 6, 2008

Collier backs English version of IPL

Cricinfo staff

David Collier: 'We believe that an English Premier League will be very successful including a broad range of cricketers." © Getty Images
David Collier, the ECB chief executive, has said it will be very hard for England's top players to take part in future Indian Premier League (IPL) tournaments because of the international schedule. He added that the ECB was preparing to adapt their domestic Twenty20 Cup to attract more leading players and offer an alternative to the IPL.

"It is a question of finding periods of the year for this [the IPL] to take place," he told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek show. "We are one of the few countries who play in June, that is why our competitions are so successful because we can attract the best players in the world. That is why we believe that an English Premier League will be very successful including a broad range of cricketers."

An expanded Twenty20 Cup is on the agenda of the ECB meeting this week and changes could take place as early as this season's tournament in June. An increase in overseas players is one option on the table with more drastic changes being discussed for the 2009 event.

Recently, Kevin Pietersen has said that frustration is growing that England players are unable to take advantage of the money on offer. Dimitri Mascarenhas is the only representative from England, have coming to a deal with Hampshire who will release him for two weeks.

There has been talk of the IPL being brought forward so it doesn't clash with the start of the English domestic season, but there isn't much room in a congested calendar. "The obvious time for the IPL to play is April and May, but that clashes with the start of our international season," said Collier.

"We play New Zealand on May 15 in England, for our players to take part their schedule has to come forward a few weeks to fit into that calendar. We should also not forget that we go to the West Indies in the spring of next year. The IPL has said that the tours programmes will take precedence, and clearly that will clash with us being in the West Indies."

Collier also said that it will take time to find out how commercially successful the IPL will be and that it will have to operate at a loss for some time. "Certainly if you look over a five-to-10-year period, we can believe the claims that Indian cricket is worth a billion dollars," he said. "But there are 10 franchises, and every one has a turnover of about eight million dollars, it is being said in India that those franchises will be making a loss for a number of years.

"That is not unusual, in the US when franchises start, they make losses for a number of years. But if you are investing in such numbers, you expect a return in the not-too-distant future, and that will happen in India. But it will not be for a while."