No. 48 August 28, 2011

The IPL and Lalit Modi

The map of Indian and international cricket was reorganised when a previously unknown BCCI official came up with a franchise-based Twenty20 model
27

2007

September 13, 2007. Months before, India had crashed out of the World Cup in the Caribbean and then lost a one-day series to England. The World Twenty20 had just begun in South Africa but India were reluctant participants in an untested format. The mood was despondent, with one question uppermost on everyone's minds: What is cricket's future in India?

The answer came that Thursday evening when the BCCI unveiled the Indian Premier League. The concept's audacity - a franchise-based T20 league involving cities instead of states or provinces, and featuring the world's top players, held over six weeks in April-May - was nothing, however, compared to what followed.

India won the World Twenty20, thanks to a mishit by Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq. It cemented the format in the public imagination, and shortly afterwards the BCCI announced a slew of deals that would break all financial records. The TV rights deal brought in more than $1 billion, followed by the auction of franchises for $700 million. The first players' auction, in February 2008, saw MS Dhoni signed up for $1.5 million for a six-week season - or around $100,000 per game. Two players would top that figure the next year.

The IPL proper began with Brendon McCullum hitting 158 off 73 balls, then and now the highest ever individual Twenty20 score. When the cricket flagged, Bollywood took over - three franchise owners were A-listers, a fourth joined in season two - with cheerleaders as a backing ensemble.

Above all was Lalit Modi, who morphed overnight from a provincial player - ESPNcricinfo's report on the IPL launch had this coy reference: "Lalit Modi, a BCCI vice-president, was named as its convenor" - to IPL Commissioner. He had the style and swagger to match that title, swinging the deals, schmoozing with the stars, scrapping with the media and every perceived opponent.

Soon the IPL became the event, the one every cricketer, umpire and commentator wanted to be part of (it helped that two competitors, the ICL and the Stanford 20/20, fell swiftly by the wayside). Cricket's fixtures calendar was tweaked, with no little help from India's position as the centre of cricket's economy.

The IPL's official stand that international commitments came first for its players didn't stop top cricketers from putting pressure on their own boards to reschedule games that clashed with the league. In 2009, West Indies captain Chris Gayle arrived for an England tour two days before the first Test; West Indies themselves were replacements for Sri Lanka, who pulled out of their England tour so that their top players could play in the IPL. The next year Gayle was one of three top West Indian cricketers to refuse an annual contract with his national board, relying instead on the security of the IPL and other leagues.

By this time, though, the IPL was in meltdown; Modi's enemies were now within the BCCI, which was alarmed at his rapid rise and apparently limitless powers and possibilities. His downfall was swift and dramatic, beginning officially at the prize distribution ceremony following the 2010 final, and his exit sparked the unravelling of the league as we knew it. At the time of writing many of those multimillion-dollar deals are in litigation or under the scrutiny of India's tax police. The 2011 tournament, sans Modi, was decidedly lacking in hoopla, and TV viewership figures took a hit.

And yet the IPL inspires. Australia are to kickstart their own franchise-based Twenty20 league later this year, clearly modelled on the IPL; the Champions League Twenty20, co-owned by the boards of India, Australia and South Africa, is a more stable but no less rich version of its half-brother. These tournaments - and others will follow - have thrown up the possibility of the Freelance Cricketer, who will ply his trade across borders and without any national affiliation.

Misbah's mishit was truly the Shot Heard Around The Cricket World.

Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo in India

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RohanMarkJay on August 29, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    IPL is here to stay. Unless the Indian public lose interest. The big money will ensure top cricketers will call an early retirement to their test careers, so they can be an actor playing their part in a colourful bollywood cricket movie extravaganza called the IPL. They can enjoy after their IPL career is over the riches that being part of well paid cricket tournament can do to their futures. Just ask Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga about that!

  • on August 29, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    So Indian cricketers did all the hard work and everything but they won because of a mishit by Misbah ...What a joke by the author ...It was a collective effort by some of the best players in T-20 cricket. ALso, franchise based T-20 is not Lalit Modi's brainchild since the whole idea was conceptualized and implemented by ICL years before IPL ..Get your facts correct Jayaditya and pls learn a thing or two about cricket ..

  • Lovekush on August 29, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    The IPL is being criticised by one and all. Rightly so. In retrospect, it wasnt such a bad idea, given the fact that, at the end of the day, its still a game of cricket. The IPL could have been a platform for the growth of the game, had cricket been the only commodity in its scheme of things. It isnt cricket anymore, due to immense commercialization(bollywood, glamour, cheer leaders etc.,) which has transformed it into entertainment. Entertainment does not help produce test match cricketers. If the IPL had stuck to cricket alone, the game wouldnt be in such a mess, either in India or elsewhere

  • merchant187 on August 29, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    IPL is worths its money... Money always takes over any sports in all around the world.. Like in NBA stars or players leave there city to play for anoother city so they make more money or have a shot at winning. TEST cricket is boring and I have never seen the stadiums full as in IPL... or even ODI.. and just because of one or 2 bad series and that to a TEST series can't degrade a team. In the end IPL is where the FANS are happy ... owners are happy and the players are happy... T20 cricket is the best time pass... dont have to spend 5 days to see result in a draw...lol.. Anyways i am sure lot of ppl enjoy IPL and ODI's more than boring test matches.

  • Balumekka on August 29, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    Ouch! a mishit went that far? I mean to give birth to IPL and through that to ruin Indian cricket? Misbah must be a proud man by now!!!!!!!

  • Pritt32 on August 29, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    The IPL is a quick money scheme and is about playing glamour shots. Test cricket is a different ball game, as it about endurance and mental strength. IPL should have been the lowest priority of Indian cricket, as the team had a busy schedule ahead and needed to prepare in English conditions and West Indies tour delayed at a later date. I think it would be an even contest and save the embarrassment of whitewash series against England. I was expecting an exciting series, but it turned out one sided as India had no answers and lost the appetite to play test cricket through injuries of key players and over-exposure to unnecessary IPL in a critical point. They should been rested after the world cup in preparation for key tours. I hope key lessons can be learned and there is no repeat of future performances like this. I prefer test cricket than IPL, as it about quality and competiveness. IPL is ruining Indian cricket and it has to be addressed.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 29, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    INDIA WON THE WORLD CUP BECAUSE OF A MISHIT BY MISBAH . THIS IS THE BIGGEST JOKE I HAVE EVER HEARD . IF THAT'S THE CASE THEN I THINK AUS WON 1999WC BECAUSE OF MISUNDERSTANDING B/W DONALD &KLUSENER , ENGLAND WON THE 2005 ASHES BECAUSE OF A POOR DECISION BY UMPIRE IN EDGABUSTON TEST , INDIA WON THE 1983 WC BECAUSE OF A POOR SHOT BY RICHARDS .ANYBODY WHO WATCHED THAT T20 WC CAN NOTICE INDIA WAS THE YONUGEST SIDE . BATSMEN LIKE GAMBHIR , YUVRAJ , UTHAPPA WERE FORM AND IN OUR BOWLING RP SINGH WAS IN FORM OF HIS LIFE AND FIELDING WAS ALSO GOOD .

  • nuwanr on August 29, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    Yes India did really bad in England!

  • FAB_ALI on August 28, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    MOST INDIAN PLAYERS NEEDED TO LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES AFTER THE WORLD CUP TRIUMPH BUT THEY PLAYED IN IPL AND PICKED UP SEVERE INJURIES. WHICH RESULTED IN THE TEAM BEING WEAKENED AGAINST ENGLAND AND THEY LOST 4-0. I STILL COULDN'T BELIEVE IT HOW CAN WE LOSE 4-0. IT HURTS!

  • FAB_ALI on August 28, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    INDIA PUT IN SO MUCH EFFORT TO WIN THE WORLD CUP AND AFTER ACHIEVING THAT LANDMARK SUCCESS OUR CRICKETERS DESERVED REST FOR 2 MONTHS AT LEAST. BUT IPL CAME IN AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME AND THE 4-0 LOSS TO ENGLAND IS THE RESULT.

  • RohanMarkJay on August 29, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    IPL is here to stay. Unless the Indian public lose interest. The big money will ensure top cricketers will call an early retirement to their test careers, so they can be an actor playing their part in a colourful bollywood cricket movie extravaganza called the IPL. They can enjoy after their IPL career is over the riches that being part of well paid cricket tournament can do to their futures. Just ask Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga about that!

  • on August 29, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    So Indian cricketers did all the hard work and everything but they won because of a mishit by Misbah ...What a joke by the author ...It was a collective effort by some of the best players in T-20 cricket. ALso, franchise based T-20 is not Lalit Modi's brainchild since the whole idea was conceptualized and implemented by ICL years before IPL ..Get your facts correct Jayaditya and pls learn a thing or two about cricket ..

  • Lovekush on August 29, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    The IPL is being criticised by one and all. Rightly so. In retrospect, it wasnt such a bad idea, given the fact that, at the end of the day, its still a game of cricket. The IPL could have been a platform for the growth of the game, had cricket been the only commodity in its scheme of things. It isnt cricket anymore, due to immense commercialization(bollywood, glamour, cheer leaders etc.,) which has transformed it into entertainment. Entertainment does not help produce test match cricketers. If the IPL had stuck to cricket alone, the game wouldnt be in such a mess, either in India or elsewhere

  • merchant187 on August 29, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    IPL is worths its money... Money always takes over any sports in all around the world.. Like in NBA stars or players leave there city to play for anoother city so they make more money or have a shot at winning. TEST cricket is boring and I have never seen the stadiums full as in IPL... or even ODI.. and just because of one or 2 bad series and that to a TEST series can't degrade a team. In the end IPL is where the FANS are happy ... owners are happy and the players are happy... T20 cricket is the best time pass... dont have to spend 5 days to see result in a draw...lol.. Anyways i am sure lot of ppl enjoy IPL and ODI's more than boring test matches.

  • Balumekka on August 29, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    Ouch! a mishit went that far? I mean to give birth to IPL and through that to ruin Indian cricket? Misbah must be a proud man by now!!!!!!!

  • Pritt32 on August 29, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    The IPL is a quick money scheme and is about playing glamour shots. Test cricket is a different ball game, as it about endurance and mental strength. IPL should have been the lowest priority of Indian cricket, as the team had a busy schedule ahead and needed to prepare in English conditions and West Indies tour delayed at a later date. I think it would be an even contest and save the embarrassment of whitewash series against England. I was expecting an exciting series, but it turned out one sided as India had no answers and lost the appetite to play test cricket through injuries of key players and over-exposure to unnecessary IPL in a critical point. They should been rested after the world cup in preparation for key tours. I hope key lessons can be learned and there is no repeat of future performances like this. I prefer test cricket than IPL, as it about quality and competiveness. IPL is ruining Indian cricket and it has to be addressed.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 29, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    INDIA WON THE WORLD CUP BECAUSE OF A MISHIT BY MISBAH . THIS IS THE BIGGEST JOKE I HAVE EVER HEARD . IF THAT'S THE CASE THEN I THINK AUS WON 1999WC BECAUSE OF MISUNDERSTANDING B/W DONALD &KLUSENER , ENGLAND WON THE 2005 ASHES BECAUSE OF A POOR DECISION BY UMPIRE IN EDGABUSTON TEST , INDIA WON THE 1983 WC BECAUSE OF A POOR SHOT BY RICHARDS .ANYBODY WHO WATCHED THAT T20 WC CAN NOTICE INDIA WAS THE YONUGEST SIDE . BATSMEN LIKE GAMBHIR , YUVRAJ , UTHAPPA WERE FORM AND IN OUR BOWLING RP SINGH WAS IN FORM OF HIS LIFE AND FIELDING WAS ALSO GOOD .

  • nuwanr on August 29, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    Yes India did really bad in England!

  • FAB_ALI on August 28, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    MOST INDIAN PLAYERS NEEDED TO LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES AFTER THE WORLD CUP TRIUMPH BUT THEY PLAYED IN IPL AND PICKED UP SEVERE INJURIES. WHICH RESULTED IN THE TEAM BEING WEAKENED AGAINST ENGLAND AND THEY LOST 4-0. I STILL COULDN'T BELIEVE IT HOW CAN WE LOSE 4-0. IT HURTS!

  • FAB_ALI on August 28, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    INDIA PUT IN SO MUCH EFFORT TO WIN THE WORLD CUP AND AFTER ACHIEVING THAT LANDMARK SUCCESS OUR CRICKETERS DESERVED REST FOR 2 MONTHS AT LEAST. BUT IPL CAME IN AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME AND THE 4-0 LOSS TO ENGLAND IS THE RESULT.

  • FAB_ALI on August 28, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    IF THIS IPL WAS NOT THERE I AM SURE INDIA WOULD NEVER LOSE 4-0 TO ENGLAND. I CAN BET ON THIS WITH ANYONE TO ANY EXTENT.

  • FAB_ALI on August 28, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    THE IPL IS WORST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED WITH INDIAN CRICKET. ITS KILLING INDIAN CRICKET MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

  • on August 28, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    I feel pity for MISBAH...... i mean he molded that final into a final worthy of remembrance...and then a customary meltdown....i remember watching that..when it went up...and with it...everything came down :D

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on August 28, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    "India won the World Twenty20, thanks to a mishit by Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq"..Mate you'r kidding me.India won the WC with a superior performance,not just because of one miss hit

  • sree21 on August 28, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    The most stupid article I ever read in Cricinfo. Does anyone screens the articles before they get published India won just because of one mis hit ? Never saw any foolish argument than this.

  • zapod on August 28, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    creative rewriting of history at its best...

  • CricketPissek on August 28, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    a few omissions and misinformed lines spoil the article for me. no mention that this was a kneejerk reaction to the Indian Cricket League, which was in many opinions a better and sustainable format than the IPL (remember, it was a PROPER league with T20 as well as 50 over matches with ideas of 3 day cricket ahead). not to mention the note that the West Indies replaced Sri Lanka who pulled out because they ran after money, which is almost libel. It was the Zimbabwe tour that was cancelled and Ranatunga (the then interim board chairman) wanted SL to play instead after the players had signed up for the IPL, but the players refused this ADDITIONAL tour as they had made a prior commitment to the IPL

  • bumsonseats on August 28, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    do u mean modi came up with twenty/20 or ipl. because i think twenty/20 came up from i think an idea by NZ hitting markers on the fence giving 12 runs.then as most good ideas from england refining it to its present format.and others then following suite .dpk

  • bumsonseats on August 28, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    you asian guys must remember misdeeds by your own players/opponents like forever. the deeds been done get over it. dpk

  • shahbazhussain on August 28, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    In fact, it was Mishbah again who gave the World cup 2011 final to india, and they won it.... so Arvind, if Misbah played other way it would have been Pakistan. BUT it would not cost too much to cricket as it came after Indian victories in both worlds.

    Anyway, God bless you Cricket!

  • on August 28, 2011, 10:55 GMT

    lalit modi came up with ipl ? i thought it was launched after bcci panicked due to icl and they arm twisted players from joining up for icl.

  • on August 28, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    AN APPLAUDABLE ARTICLE!!! THE MISHIT BY MISBAH HAS COST US AND THIS WHOLE WORLD HEAVILY... THE T20 FEVER IS RUINING CRICKET... IT HAS DESTROYED THE TRUE MEANING OF CRICKET.. JUST LIKE RICKY PONTING SAID"

    WHEN I WAS YOUNG I WAS TOLD THAT CRICKET WAS ALL ABOUT CONCENTRATION AND YOUR ABILITY TO BAT FOR LONG HOURS AND STEADILY SCORING RUNS...NOW THEY ARE TAUGHT TO GO AND TRY TO HIT 3-4 BOUNDARIES EVERY OVER AND SCORE 50 IN 20-21 BALLS... NOWADAYS 35 IS CONSIDERED AS A GOOD AVERAGE IN FIRST CLASS CRICKET... WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND SOMEONE WOULD HAVE AN AVERAGE OF 3H. HIS FATHER WOULD GIVE HIM A BASKETBALL OR FOOTBALL IN HAND AND TELL HIM TO LEAVE CRICKET..."

    THIS IS WHAT MODERN CRICKET HAS COME TO... THIS IS THE REASON WHY INDIA WERE WHITEWASHED IN ENGLAND...

  • on August 28, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    arvind come on... if that mis hit wasn't there it would hv been pakisthan...i mean a great victory can be defined by the example of a 4-0 white wash...

  • Governor on August 28, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    I just wonder if Indian Cricket will control world cricket to bring test cricket to its knees. I just hope the day will come when the BCCI and the IPL will claim for bankruptcy.........

  • div09 on August 28, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Well written Arvind Pai and well written Jayaditya Gupta specially last line.........even though it is not true that India won the t-20 2007 world cup because of that hit or mis-hit but still it it is a good way to end. ( Catchy way to end.........I even bookmarked this page just to read that over-and-over again.

  • on August 28, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Wow! Amazing how one mishit could change the world!

  • on August 28, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    "India won the World Twenty20, thanks to a mishit by Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq." You just can't get over your India hatred, can you? The World Twenty20 winner was not decided by a single hit or mishit.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on August 28, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    "India won the World Twenty20, thanks to a mishit by Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq." You just can't get over your India hatred, can you? The World Twenty20 winner was not decided by a single hit or mishit.

  • on August 28, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Wow! Amazing how one mishit could change the world!

  • div09 on August 28, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Well written Arvind Pai and well written Jayaditya Gupta specially last line.........even though it is not true that India won the t-20 2007 world cup because of that hit or mis-hit but still it it is a good way to end. ( Catchy way to end.........I even bookmarked this page just to read that over-and-over again.

  • Governor on August 28, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    I just wonder if Indian Cricket will control world cricket to bring test cricket to its knees. I just hope the day will come when the BCCI and the IPL will claim for bankruptcy.........

  • on August 28, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    arvind come on... if that mis hit wasn't there it would hv been pakisthan...i mean a great victory can be defined by the example of a 4-0 white wash...

  • on August 28, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    AN APPLAUDABLE ARTICLE!!! THE MISHIT BY MISBAH HAS COST US AND THIS WHOLE WORLD HEAVILY... THE T20 FEVER IS RUINING CRICKET... IT HAS DESTROYED THE TRUE MEANING OF CRICKET.. JUST LIKE RICKY PONTING SAID"

    WHEN I WAS YOUNG I WAS TOLD THAT CRICKET WAS ALL ABOUT CONCENTRATION AND YOUR ABILITY TO BAT FOR LONG HOURS AND STEADILY SCORING RUNS...NOW THEY ARE TAUGHT TO GO AND TRY TO HIT 3-4 BOUNDARIES EVERY OVER AND SCORE 50 IN 20-21 BALLS... NOWADAYS 35 IS CONSIDERED AS A GOOD AVERAGE IN FIRST CLASS CRICKET... WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND SOMEONE WOULD HAVE AN AVERAGE OF 3H. HIS FATHER WOULD GIVE HIM A BASKETBALL OR FOOTBALL IN HAND AND TELL HIM TO LEAVE CRICKET..."

    THIS IS WHAT MODERN CRICKET HAS COME TO... THIS IS THE REASON WHY INDIA WERE WHITEWASHED IN ENGLAND...

  • on August 28, 2011, 10:55 GMT

    lalit modi came up with ipl ? i thought it was launched after bcci panicked due to icl and they arm twisted players from joining up for icl.

  • shahbazhussain on August 28, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    In fact, it was Mishbah again who gave the World cup 2011 final to india, and they won it.... so Arvind, if Misbah played other way it would have been Pakistan. BUT it would not cost too much to cricket as it came after Indian victories in both worlds.

    Anyway, God bless you Cricket!

  • bumsonseats on August 28, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    you asian guys must remember misdeeds by your own players/opponents like forever. the deeds been done get over it. dpk

  • bumsonseats on August 28, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    do u mean modi came up with twenty/20 or ipl. because i think twenty/20 came up from i think an idea by NZ hitting markers on the fence giving 12 runs.then as most good ideas from england refining it to its present format.and others then following suite .dpk