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UK editor, ESPNcricinfo

The case for an IPL window

It's not impossible to set aside seven weeks a year for it; the global game would benefit

David Hopps

May 31, 2012

Comments: 132 | Text size: A | A

A jubilant Kolkata Knight Riders with the IPL trophy, Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2012, final, Chennai, May 27, 2012
The IPL effectively has carved out its own window, so why not make it official? © Associated Press
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Whether you love it or hate it, whether you follow it avidly or believe it debases a great and noble game, it is time to accept the inevitable when it comes to the IPL. It is here to stay. It is more powerful with every passing year. For the sake of sanity, and the reputation of Test cricket, it must be given a window in the ICC's cricket calendar.

As Sharda Ugra commented on these pages, IPL 5 was immensely popular not just with the players it rewards so handsomely, it drew in big crowds across a wide demographic. Its excesses were hard to take at times, but the fervour it communicates can only be a good thing for the game. And it will eventually devour all those who refuse to accept it.

The IPL and Test cricket must learn to live together, if not happily then at least behind a mental leylandii. The ICC's cricket committee, which is meeting over two days at Lord's, has the chance to begin that process by calling for an end to the posturing, the belittling and the power struggles that are doing a disservice to the game.

The committee, under the chairmanship of the former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, has been asked to consider "the proliferation of domestic leagues (including foreign players and, in some cases private ownership) and the consequent impact on international cricket".

That does not refer only to IPL because T20 leagues are springing up throughout the world - apart from the one in England, which is now a hardy perennial and which reseeds itself with humble success every summer. But it is the IPL that matters.

One of the functions of the ICC is "to promote, develop and act in the best interests of the international game as a whole". That task cannot properly be fulfilled while Test cricket is made a mockery of by trying to behave as if the IPL does not exist. Under the current situation, top players must make an unfair choice between financial gain and national loyalty and the public is being short-changed.

Lloyd, who has watched the decline of West Indies cricket since the halcyon days when he captained a side blessed with the greatest fast-bowling resources the world has ever seen, must be keenly aware that something has to give. Kumar Sangakkara, one of the shrewdest minds ever produced by Sri Lankan cricket, and another member of the committee, has been a long-time supporter of an IPL window as the only logical outcome.

West Indies are contesting a May Test series against England this year without the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and the young mystery spinner Sunil Narine*. Predictably, for all their determination, they have lost the first two Tests, the warm-up act before England's main show of the summer against South Africa.

The faultlines in West Indies cricket, of course, cannot all be laid at the door of IPL. But how much more appealing would the series have been if West Indies had their full complement, and if Narine had arrived in England in direct competition to his fellow spinner Shane Shillingford as an exciting young talent? How unfair was it for Marlon Samuels, one West Indies player who did remain loyal to Test cricket, to suffer financially because of it? And how sad it is that Gayle, emboldened by riches from the IPL and other T20 tournaments, now behaves with all the calculating menace of a hired gun.

West Indies cannot afford to pay their players remotely the sort of money needed to persuade them to forego the IPL, but that should not be their aim anyway. It is far more beneficial to international cricket for talented young cricketers in the Caribbean to recognise a future in which they can conceivably enjoy the adulation of India's T20 crowds and commit themselves to the history of West Indies cricket. It is unfair to expect them to make a choice.

Even for England, which has held the line with reasonable success, the fault lines are showing. Eoin Morgan, not picked for England's Test tour of Sri Lanka, responded to his omission from the squad by remaining as a bench player for Kolkata Knight Riders until the end of the qualifying tournament - he never played but still came back proclaiming himself a better player for the experience. His lack of interest in fighting for his Test place has strangely passed without much explanation.

 
 
The IPL is a successful business model run by companies who know something about business. That is a fact and it is not about to change
 

Kevin Pietersen did return in time for England's first Test against West Indies but if his Twitter account was a true reflection, his thoughts were often elsewhere. Playing for Surrey in a championship match at Worcester ahead of the first Test, he got out as Surrey successfully fought to save the game, and tweeted not about the sterling efforts of his county colleagues in the match he was playing in, but excitedly about Delhi Daredevils' next match. Get used to it, is Pietersen's response.

IPL franchises might only be able to field four overseas players but they can sign up to 11, which this year left the possibility of 99 international players from outside India signed up for the tournament and countless more desperate for an opportunity.

Sri Lanka were England's opponents last May and Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene arrived in England with minimal time to acclimatise ahead of the first Test, their exact travel date the subject of endless conjecture as Sri Lanka Cricket subsided into one of its regular political struggles. The spat led to Lasith Malinga's retirement from Test cricket. Others will follow.

Other countries may carp that if IPL gets a window, they deserve one, too. It would be an argument that flew in the face of reality. There are overriding reasons why the IPL deserves a window ahead of other domestic T20 tournaments.

India is the financial powerhouse of the game, responsible for about 75% of world cricket revenue. The IPL is a successful business model run by companies who know something about business. The IPL has a hold over the world's leading cricketers like no other league. The IPL can win over a new cricket-watching public more successfully than any other domestic league. The IPL, allowed to run free, will inexorably damage the traditional forms of the game. These are facts and irrespective of national sentiments they need to be addressed.

Those who are not selected for the IPL can either spend two months recuperating from a heavy international schedule or could even play a spot of English county cricket.

What is frustrating about the current situation is that an IPL window would not be difficult to achieve. It consisted of 76 matches in 53 days, running from April 4 to May 27. Reduce that to 49 days and begin on April 1 and it can finish on May 20. There seems to be no other time of the year.

It would prevent West Indies and Sri Lanka extending their international seasons into early April, but that is preferable to seeing their playing standards crippled. It would necessitate England putting its first Test of the summer back to the last week of May, an affordable price to pay for a country that by fielding up to seven Tests and 13 one-day matches a year is already guilty of overkill. As quid quo pro, India could end its block on all its players taking part in other T20 leagues, England's especially, which would enable it to balance the books.

People often wonder why India, so powerful, has not lobbied hard for a window for IPL, The answer is simple: India does not need a window; India is winning the power struggle anyway. It is the rest of the world that needs to negotiate a sensible future.

*This article was written before Sunil Narine was picked in the West Indies Test squad after the conclusion of IPL as an injury replacement for Kemar Roach

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Muhtasim13 on (June 3, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

the case for an IPL window doesn't have to be rushed. Yes its true that the IPL has been a success for over five years. but, its still only in its 5th edition. There is a probability that the IPL's appeal might fizzle out over the next five years. I know that the chances of that happening are very slim but its quite possible

Posted by Lord_Dravid on (June 3, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

@Paul rone-clarke : dont you get it? india does not NEED to ask for an IPL window..it automatically draws attentions of players and fans alike anyway..like david hoops says its the other nations who need to negotiate coz india is winning the power struggle!lol ..besides no other nation can ask for their own window simple because none of them can match india's financial might, simple.

Posted by Viv-Viru on (June 3, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

Major League Baseball has 30 teams and each team plays 162 games over six months in a year mostly in the US.

India and the US are comparable in the maket size for Cricket and Baseball respectively. And IPL is the major league for cricket.

Some may not like it now, but there will be likely be a day when the IPL will be run like MLB.

And that will only extend the life of test cricket because there will always be a special place for competition between national teams. Just look at Olympics, Davis Cup, Ryder Cup and others for example.

Posted by jay57870 on (June 3, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

(Cont) The rest is history: a short 5 years. Many of the best in the world play in IPL - Kallis, de Villiers, Steyn, Morkels & Husseys, Clarke, Watson, Gayle, Pollard, Vettori, Jaya, Sanga, Malinga, Shakib & KP - among foreign stars. Not to mention Sachin, Rahul, Viru, Dhoni, Gambhir & many locals. IPL's success is well documented. Yes, it's had scandals too - eg, shifty founder Lalit Modi, now hiding in London. Overall, Indian cricket's evolution has led to a unique commercial ecosystem. IPL is an integral part. Important, it's a sanctioned sport (WSC was not)! But India alone cannot make cricket viable worldwide. There's a need to balance all 3 formats, as Rahul Dravid stressed in his insightful Bradman Oration. Ultimately it's ICC's job. History's lessons: Don't kick the can down the road. IPL's not waiting, judging by its relentless can-do spirit. There's a rare "IPL window" of opportunity! ICC must seize it! If not, chaos will ensue; market forces will finish the job!!

Posted by jay57870 on (June 3, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

David - Spot on! It seems ICC's playing a game of chicken. Wrong game. Worse still, ICC's acting like a head-in-the-sand ostrich. Total folly. Perhaps ICC and ECB both thought KP was crying wolf. Well, the truth is out: KP quit international limited-overs cricket, the wolf sent the twin birds helter-skelter. They blinked, their willful blindness & parochial game exposed. The consequences: England's loss, IPL's gain. More collateral damage might be inflicted by friendly fire. Sadly, we've seen WICB dealt deadly blows by Gayle & Co. Remember the last time a major player exodus took place? It was in the 70s, instigated by Kerry Packer, the renegade businessman, with his breakaway World Series Cricket. The English-Aussie duopoly was forever shaken up. Out of the chaos rose ODIs. Years later, England invented T20. Along came Sir Allen Stanford, the Ponzi scheme fraudster who took ECB for a disastrous ride. Out of the chaos rose IPL (after ousting ICL)! (TBC)

Posted by JG2704 on (June 2, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

@recycle-bin-is-empty on (June 01 2012, 20:38 PM GMT) Just wondering , do you not think that having more foreign players per team might stifle the progress of India's young players ? I know in English football there is much talk that too many overseas players (whilst good for the premier league and premier league teams) it has harmed our national side.

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 2, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

recycle-bin-is-empty, I never meant to claim that IPL is success only because of Indian players and not foreign players. Isn't that obvious that everybody who played well share the bragging rights for that? Yes, but I was posting that comment to reply someone who said foreign players are the ones who make IPL success. What I emphasized though was that Indian audience know foreign players well but the apart from few foreign players it's many of those who Indian players who bring the crowd to the TV and stadium. Because after all this is Indian audience and they love to watch Indian players even as they love to watch talented cricketers from all over the world playing for Indian franchise.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

If Ipl get a window in May & April the tournament organizers should compensate ECB & WICB for their considerable losses incurred. West Indies Cricket especially is very negatively affected by all these domestic 20/20 cricket leagues. WICB cant compete with the big money on offer so each year we either lose players completely or players turn up for international cricket playing halfheartedly. The list includes Gayle, Bravo, Pollard, Russell , Taylor, Roach, Narine & will continue to grow if something isn't done. I am sure WICB has observed a drastic drop off in ticket sales for the early part of the season cause most fans like myself are hesitant to pay a pretty hefty amount of money for tickets to see a team without it's most talented players get beaten no matter how much of a fight they put up! Imagine how many less tickets BCCI would sell for a home series if Tendulkar alone much more several key players were away playing in a domestic tournament elsewhere?

Posted by recycle-bin-is-empty on (June 1, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

@Jim1207 I am an Indian and though, i dont care about those saying that indian players bring down the quality and all, they should look at their age and experience before saying that,but i disagree on ur point that IPL is success only bcoz of Indian players, foreign players equally add the charm just like indian players and are a major contribution to IPL success. If IPL is given a window then i think more foreign players should be allowed to play in a match than 4 as of now, bcoz fans from other countries also should get to watch their stars playing in those 2 month time. I very much liked the 2nd option suggested by the first commentator here. Also non-sense rules like giving a free hit to the batsman after a no-ball should be scrapped ( y the bowler is getting punished here for his next delivery, he is already fined for 1 run). The game need to be made somewhat more bowler friendly also to improve the quality, it will only gain more audience and purists, in India and abroad.

Posted by recycle-bin-is-empty on (June 1, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

An excellent article Mr. David. The thing is IPL is only going to get stronger, i wont be surprised if within the next 5 years 2-3 more new teams are emerging with more businessman and bollywood stars wanting to rake in on the moolah.....which will further complicate the issue in the international arena as more foreign players would be invited to join in,. The only solution is as David suggested, create a window of 2 months with no international match going on and all the premiere leagues be it bpl, ipl or big bash should be allowed to host in that time frame...that way those players who are not picked in one league will get the chance to participate in some other league.....Sure, IPL will be at the advantage here as most of the players will prefer to play in it bcoz of the obvious, but still thats the only way we come up with something which is impartial to other leagues, icc cannot create a window for every league.

Posted by YS_USA on (June 1, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

A window is needed for the IPL and not for other T20 leagues because the salary cap for each IPL team is $9 millions while the salary cap for Big Bash teams is $1 million for each team and $2 million for BPL teams, though BPL has not fully paid its players. YS from USA

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

BTW no one - not even God has said that only England, USA, Spain, France, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Portugal, or Germany should establish colonies, spread their language, and teach a new game. India can too give a different twist. India follows corruption very very well. Thanks to the British for teaching the art and craft of bribes, deceit, strikes, understating (not committing) ;)

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

IPL is as international as Pollard, Gayle, Peterson, De Villiers, Malinga, Sachin, Shewag etc etc. No Gayle - some 1000 less RCB fans. No Dhoni - 1000 less CSK fans. So IPL is as international as the Oceans and Seas. Bays and Lagoons near shore and Oceans globally. IPL is what many watch across the cricketing globe. Tests need respect. IPL pays for achievers from tests and ODIs who the fans know already. At times - like Sunil Naraine and Pollard and probably Awana will play tests/ODIs that are international because of IPL. Ask Gibson the WI coach on why he selected SN of KKR.

Posted by CRICK3TCR4ZY on (June 1, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

For those who says "IPL is just a business and will run its course in few years and people will not want to watch it" could not be more wrong. Every year IPL creates new exiting stories. From the Chennai's dominance to Kolkata's dream win. Every year new unknown players from different countries become stars. IPL has been successful not only to find some new Indian cricket stars of future but also made so many overseas players popular in their own country. There is always something new and different to watch in IPL every year. IPL has been bringing in new audience every year and therefore responsible for extending cricket's popularity. Of course its new and it will take a few more years to get every aspect of it right both on field and off field. But to my opinion it is the future of CRICKET. EMBRACE IT.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (June 1, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

its been clear for sometime that the IPL is here to stay and to preserve international cricket it would seem logical to find a window for it. What the author has written makes a lot of sense. The ECB have not wanted a window in the past coz it would mean the international season starting late, however pushing the start of the international summer back by a week or 2 would seem to be a fair enough compromise. However the thing which worries me is that the ipl is being extended each year at present it has 76 games but there is nothing to stop the bcci from increasing the amout of games or adding more franchises over the coming years. The other big question is would a window stop the club vs country issues, if ipl has a window there can't be one for CLT20 or any other competion and these events will are still going to be around & what about the plans for the franchises to play associates in the close season, I think its likley they will still want strong line ups 4 these games.

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 1, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

People who say IPL is stupid to have only 3 international players, please understand this point: IPL is a golden goose for Cricket, it gets money because it has 7 Indian players in each team, not because of 4 international players. If you increase international player count, audience would lose interest and you lose the cash cow and all the revenue which is the main reason for IPL's supremacy. Without understanding this and trying to increase international players count, it is a recipe for disaster. ICC is clever to understand not to interrupt in this regard. Also, if you think Indian players do not bring quality to IPL, check back the results. apart from few countable overseas players like Gayle, no one else is so exceptional. You need to understand the value, audience, quality and money that Indian players bring into this tourney. The reason they are paid in millions. I hope this helps.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 14:31 GMT)

IPL is bigger than Ashes.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

WELL SAID.IPL IS NOW A WELL ACCEPTED TOURNAMENT.

Posted by msnsrinivas on (June 1, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

That was well rounded little gem Mr. Hopps. Congratulations.

Posted by MrAshish on (June 1, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

A very powerful article, brilliantly interspersed with facts, recent events and lucid logical explanation.

Posted by TimelessTests on (June 1, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

The IPL is a business. When interest fades - many of the new spectators are not die-hard cricket fans but new-comers seduced by the 'glamour' of successive sixes rather than a well-crafted maiden - the money boys will move on. Perhaps basketball. Or cycling. And the circus will leave.

Why should this billion-dollar PowerPoint presentation - for that is how it started - be given the oxygen of validity by including it in the international schedule? It does little or nothing for the top level of the game and clearly is a force for generating dispute. Leave it in India and let them enjoy it while it lasts but then let it fade into the night like the end of the firework displays that are as much of the IPL games as the cricket.

Posted by abhilash0799 on (June 1, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

A window for the IPL AND the CLT20 is absolutely necessary. Honestly, the choice between playing for one's country and playing in the cash rich is very tough, especially on players from W. Indies and who are paid peanuts as compared to those from Australia or England. It will also ensure that players like KP and malinga don't have to retire prematurely from one form of the game citing fitness reasons. And not having the best players throughout the league also affects the teams in the ipl, declining the standard of the league. And other leagues do not still have that kind of hold on overseas players as they have only 1 or 2 of them per team, for them to seek a window.

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (June 1, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

yes we need to have IPL window, along with a window for BPL(Bangla primer League), SPL(Srilankan), Australia(Big Bash) Etc. We need to have one window for every league. After that we need window for champion league. Its good for cricket and all the players want that. Simply ban test cricket.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

How can international cricket make a window for a domestic competition? Are we just saying "Fine - primacy is no longer in the hands of intrernational cricket, the ability to hold and organise top flight competitions is no longer the remit of the test playing nations, their governing bodies - or even their representatives on the toothless ICC..it's all down to what an Indian domestic competion demands" If England would have mooted anything so ludicrous as this in the last 20 years they would have been laughed away with derision and accusations of Imperialism. But when India do it becomes a case of "Budge over - Indian domestic crickert wants something, and what it wants it gets, even at the expense of International cricket" If the "I" stood for "International" then that's fine. Consider it. But what level of insanity changes the rules for an international sport based on the requirements of what is a purely domestic competition? This cannot be allowed to happen.

Posted by DibblyDobbler2 on (June 1, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

The IPL is and should continue to be about Indian palyers, Indian Cricket and developing Indian cricketers. There is no need for a window ...as David has correctly spotted it is no longer necessary. Those who want to come can come and benefit and those who have other priorities can stay away. I am sick and tired of hearing that the BCCI or the IPL is responsible for this or for that ...You don't have to watch or even participate ...it is a free world (at least in that respect). I watch the IPL to watch Indian players palying well ...the same reason other people watch their own players playing their domestic tournaments. If there is a need for a window then make it the same seven weeks for everyone and let the players make their decision as to where they wish to ply their trade. After all of those whining articles on how the IPL would fold and go away all those who have tried have failed or are just about hanging on....don't talk ..do it, do your own and show the world

Posted by Rohan0309 on (June 1, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

Awesome article. Should serve as a wake-up call to the decision makers in the ICC cricket committee.

Posted by Jarr30 on (June 1, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

IPL surely needs a window as top players from around the world wants to play in IPL. Even Pakistani players who are not invited are desperate to play IPL.

Posted by Just_love_it on (June 1, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

It's inevitable. Sooner or later ICC has to make a window for IPL...Sooner the better. Come on guys every sportsman has limited time to make money which can last for their rest of life because once they retire there is very little can they do only lucky few will end up as commentator but what about rest ? I think IPL is BEST chance for them to make some money.NO wonder there will be more n more players will go for IPL like Malinga,Gayle,Naraine,Lee,KP...etc...

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 1, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

@Jim : I completely agree with you. It's all about mutual respect. BCCI should not be cocky and arrogant but instead be more flexible as this will make IPL a lot more popular. Further I agree with some of the comments that IPL should remove the restrictions on the number of international players played in a team as it will make it a truely exciting and interesting competition. Some of the local players are not up to the international standards and bring the quality of cricket way down.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 1, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: I don't think anyone could have said it better than you. You hit it right on the head. An honest assessment indeed. As an Indian it saddens me to see how unpopular test match is in India, especially with the younger generation. Blessed are we to watch some gr8 test series, rivalries , demonstration of great skills be it bowling or batting.

Posted by maddy20 on (May 31, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

"The belittiling and power struggles are doing a disservice to the game". Very well put Mr.Hopps. THat is exactly what it is about power struggles. I hope the cricketing fraternity take some sensible decisions and allow for a window , so that players don't have to choose between international cricket and IPL. It can only be good for cricket that players are financially secure. The corruption threat will reduce greatly!

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

Cant have window for English season simply because county pays peanuts as compared to IPL. 75% revenue is generated by India so lets not kid ourselves by making our players play for England or NZ when their hearts are with IPL.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (May 31, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

Some of my friends here simply talk about BPL, SLPL, Big Bash, SA ProT20, English T20 etc without understanding why the IPL is the BEST league on the planet. I wish to educate them all. NO OTHER league on Earth can ask for their own window simply because they CANNOT match the financial might of the IPL. I cannot see KP or any South African or Aussie player willing to spend close to 7 weeks in ANY nation other than India thanks to the big bucks on offer in the IPL along with good quality cricket across the country. Plus you have the Indian public who will pay for any kind of cricket as long it's not played in WHITE clothes. Add to that further, you got millions of people around the world willing to subscribe to a channel that shows the IPL games. So you got some big money rolling around here. A BPL or a SLPL etc are MILES below that standard. Even a big bash does not have that kind of money. ONLY the IPL can claim a separate window. It deserves it. God bless the IPL !!

Posted by Vilander on (May 31, 2012, 21:49 GMT)

1, Chuck ODI in bilateral series, have them only in trilateral or world events.

2, Have test series of 5 matches, start with a T20 international or two to have some color and fun.

3, Shift season to such that its summer of England,spring down under(south hem),winter of India for the T20 leagues.

4, Relax international player rules and see participation and crowd grow.

5, WC events will be heart stopping 4 yearly country events in ODI and world t20 will be a very precious annual event.

6, Test championship being the Pinnacle for bragging rights.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

Its easy to argue that IPL should be given a window for the reasons already stated.

But the IPL in its current format should not be given a window until it is revamped.

It has too much a local Indian biased and the tournament overall is the biggest example of the crazy power the BCCI has in the word game.

The IPL with its stupid 4-international player restriction devalues the standard of cricket being player amidst all the hype and glamour. If people care of quality t20 cricket, this would be a major concern and has it stands the world twenty remains the best Twenty20 competition in the world.

The IPL needs to get rid of that rule and turn the tournament into the true cricket version of the English premier league football tournament, where teams are picked on merit, regardless if its 10 indian players or 10 foreign players part of the starting line-up.

Of course this is easier said than done because no-one wants to stand up to the BCCI.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (May 31, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

IPL is fine without window. All indian players play IPL, all domestic indian players play IPL and most of international play IPL so what is wrong here.

There should not be a window created for IPL. IPL is domestic contest and not ICC contest.

Tomorrow if Bil gates starts a cricket league in USA and put billions of dollars into it then what ICC is going to do they are going to open another window for that league too.

ICC please don't open any window for domestic competitions because in future there will be more IPL's and less international cricket.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 20:58 GMT)

Never mind the IPL, what about a window in the English season for the County Championship instead of endless ODIs?

Posted by Desihungama on (May 31, 2012, 20:06 GMT)

David totally disagree with your assesment. No doubt IPL is currently the biggest stage in Cricket in terms of entertainment, flash and star power. You want ICC to have a window for a private venture solely based on fame? What if tomorrow Big Bash, BPL or any other league gains more popularity than IPL? After all, it's the stars that make it what it is. Is ICC going to create more windows for other leagues? How will it affect International Cricket? The best case is for ICC is to work out with IPL and reduce the number of games played otherwise all leagues will be thinking of window of their own. I mean common each team playing 16 games?

Posted by Jim1207 on (May 31, 2012, 20:01 GMT)

Praxis, Indians love test cricket. But stop showing the example of Indian whitewash in England and Australia as sign of 'less talent' in Indian cricket. Could you please explain why no.1 England could not win a test in Asia, even after becoming number one in rankings? Would you accept that they lack talent as well? They forsake IPL and still could not win a test in Asia, does it mean anything? Problem is most of the England fans do not understand what David is telling. One good point for England is that it hurts their summer cricket - so ICC could arrange a march-april schedule for IPL. So far BCCI has not bent any rules as the article says. It's all about respecting each other and trying to make sure cricket and cricketers are well-served. Indians also have same passion as English or Aussies have for test cricket. We have more number of test cricket audience obviously, so stop brandishing Indians as T20-loving people. It's you who started T20 and it was India who opposed T20 initially

Posted by Dude.Cricket on (May 31, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

An honest article. Example of Sunil Naraine, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels is more than enough to make a case for a window.

Posted by CazSomerset on (May 31, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

I love how all Indian fans have lost any joy in Test cricket since they were beaten by England and then Australia. Can't wait for the England v India season this Autumn, hope India have found some bowlers.... Pakistan certainly had some some bowlers and it made for a more enthralling series then the 4-0 cakewalk over India.

Posted by Jim1207 on (May 31, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

IPL cannot allow more than 4 international players surely as this is big enough, and it gives enough opportunity for internationals and nationals. Moreover, when IPL teams play in champions league, they already have more advantage over opponents as they have 4 internationals (even the ones who should be playing in opposition side) while other countries' T20 teams usually have 2 or 3 players only. If we keep increasing international players in IPL teams, that would be injustice to conduct champions league. You need to check so many constraints, the reason it is kept the way it is.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

Test Cricket is truly the pinnacle. I will be sad if it becomes extinct. England has invented a monster in the form if twenty20, although the monster is highly entertaining :)

Posted by SangakaraFan on (May 31, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

100% agree with David Hopps. GOOD ARTICLE which shows the cricketing world the facts and true reality. IPL today is single most popular cricketing event in the world. Even in Sri Lanka people like me are glued to their TV sets to watch IPL games. IPL should get a window.

Posted by ansram on (May 31, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

So going into future, a 7 week window will be set aside each for IPL, BPL, the Big Bash, the PPL, the SLPL, the SAPL, the EPL, the NZPL and so on...........

Posted by Jim1207 on (May 31, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

Only 4 teams play this June month. In June 2011 also, only 4 teams played international cricket, India among them. So it is not that it is difficult to accommodate IPL a window, nor that it is going to affect international cricket if we allow 7 weeks! In 2012, almost 6 weeks are scheduled for champions league and world T20, while people say 7 weeks of IPL is too much. World T20 need not happen every year, that's ICC's greed to earn more money apart from what they get from IPL. They can have every 2 years at least to give it some credibility and more time for the champions! To sum up, saying that IPL's 7 weeks is too big a window is a myth.

Posted by Romenevans on (May 31, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

@Charith99 - Couldn't agree with you more. They should allow at least 6 foreign players in each team to bring in international crowd. Those domestic indian players makes other teams weaker and only 4 top teams looks like winning all the time. Fan following will always increase world wide for IPL team if 6 or more international players are playing. Just like how it is done in EPL football league or any other European football league. They gotta make it an international league.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

Wow...well said brings out truth out in the open...Question if there is a window for IPL what about other countries?? Should they have windows too??

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

David.. this is what I wanted to hear!!!!!

Posted by Kaare on (May 31, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

What needs to be realized is that the IPL has unlocked cricket's potential in two ways that test cricket has not been able to do: (a) it has created, for the first time, an exciting global village of cricket, something that is felt by the players if not by TV audiences outside of India, and (b) by transferring investment capability to private enterprise, it has allowed players to be paid salaries which are starting to be comparable to those earned in football or basketball. Cricket, and particularly players, deserve the preservation of these two elements, just as it deserves the protection of the tradition, national rivalries, and higher quality of test cricket.

The suspicion of the broader cricket community is well understood however, for it is the BCCI which rakes in the profits, and it is Indian domestic players which benefit by playing alongside world stars. What we really need a window for is an international T20 club tournament - Perhaps the BCCI can be persuaded to share?

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

If an IPL window is provided, India will rule the test and ODI rankings too :) The IPL is the rich equivalwnt of the annual ODI tri-series version in Australia. No other country was able to hold a successful ODI tri series regularly. Therefore, IPL should be given priority. Yes other countries can host better T20s -- then in that case that becomes the talking point. That is business. It was Yahoo once. Now all is Google. Android and Samsung have taken over in mobile area from Symbian and Nokia. That is life. Maybe Afghnistan or Papua New Guinea or Namibia will one day host a great t20 tournament. ICC should work with the T20 leagues. The CLT20 is a way to recognize the world leagues. So ICC should let players play in their preferred league. The crowds and fans will decide which t20 to follow - IPL or BPL or SLPL or NZPL or SAPL or whatever. IPL should somehow work with the purists and ICC to ensure IPL does not kill Test or ODI cricket.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

If a window was to be created then domestic T20 leagues wood need to merge into one like champion's league or fifa world cup. 32 teams= 6 clubs / franchises from India , 3 from England, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, 2 from Bangladesh, West Indies, Zimbabwe , New Zealand Sri Lanka and then 4 associate member teams, Ireland, Netherlands, Kenya, Afghanistan. Divide them into groups of 4 each team plays 3 games. top 2 from each group go to 2nd round 16 teams play 8 knock out games 8 winners go to quarterfinals 4 winners go to semis winners go to final losers play for 3rd place . So that would make a 64 game champions league held in a different full member country each year. Each country except the host country in that year could then have its own domestic competition as usual but without foreign international players required by their Board of selectors

Posted by Alexk400 on (May 31, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Boards makes money all international matches. They should allow players make money in the time window so they will be satisfied.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

IPL does not have any recognized full members of the ICC participating in it. IPL stand for Indian Premier League. India is just 1 country of many that play international cricket (10 full members + Ireland, Netherlands Kenya etc) Therefore international cricket should not have to be postponed so that 1 out of many countries can have a domestic tournament. India has almost 1 1/4 billion people. that is more than all the other 9 full members combined surely BCCI should not need international players to play in a domestic T20 tournament. Many of the international players just sit on the bench anyway.

Posted by TORONTO123456 on (May 31, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

IPL is killing the Game for Money ......All the Cricketers will quit from the One day internationals to Play IPL cricket ,you can earn easy money .........

Posted by Naveed85 on (May 31, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

separate- window should be allowed only if paksitan players participate in IPL

Posted by PureTom on (May 31, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

1. By making a window for the IPL its success becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. There is nothing else to watch so, whether I like it or not, if I like cricket I will watch it and people will claim it is successful. People say if you don't like it don't watch it, fair enough, but then what does one watch? 2. Indian cricket gets stronger while all others get weaker. Yes the players might earn more, but you are effectively telling all other boards to give up on international cricket revenues for 2 months. Granted the window is set in "mostly" downtime, but what is a Test tour to England worth? Is the development of cricket and players, the responsibility of the boards, going to be compensated? I doubt it. The IPL is very successful and probably here to stay, but I would hate to see cricket become like football, where it's all about the club game and internationals are generally of a lower standard.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (May 31, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

There is no case for a domestic tournament getting a window that would affect international cricket.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

What do you think abt having a window for domestic T20 leagues? In that window, all the leagues, including IPL, BPL, SLPL, etc, can take place, just like all the Euorpean soccer leagues take place simultaneously. That way, every country will be happy to have a window for itself, and all the players (even those snubbed by IPL) can make money by playing these T20 leagues! Cricket calender will have 2 windows for T20 then, one for CLT20, and one for domestic T20 leagues.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (May 31, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

Finally an unbiased article accepting the reality. 'IPL is here to Stay'. This is the truth whether you like it or not. India was a power house even before IPL, The only "PL" that is so popular among players is IPL not BPL, SLPL, EPL...or blah blah PL. KP has retired from all forms of ODI's and T20's for england and is now available to play in test matches as per other article in cricinfo. It's time ICC recognizes this and set aside a window for IPL, or else test match / test players are history.

Posted by ProdigyA on (May 31, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

A very good ariticle with good sensible reasonings for everything. Like it or not, IPL is here to stay its to the rest of the world if they want to be part of the success or just keep cribbing.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

A good article that has predictably kicked off the usual moronic test v IPL shoutfest! Test match cricket is the best form of the game simply because it is the most demanding and offers a more equal contest between bat and ball. It also demands skill and knowledge from those watching it. IPL or the T20 format should be used to spread the game globally and educate new audiences. Both can co-exist profitably together. The thing that has to go are the pointless ODIs. No ODI series should have more than 3 games. No Test match series should have less than 3 games. There should be a T20 window in the annual calendar. Problem solved.

Posted by spintl on (May 31, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

I can see that Test cricket dying a slow death maybe 1or 2 years the tops!!! IPL is so much exciting, that it will replace ODI and ODI will replace Tests!!!! We live in a fast paced life, who has the time to sit & watch 5 days of boring Test cricket?? When ODI came into exsistence back in the 70s, the same people who were lovers of Test cricket scoffed at that idea!!! But ODI gained into prominence and the same will hold true of IPL.. ICC should be smart to recognize the popularity of IPL and schedule a window for it with other country players participating and expanding the teams to couple more...

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

excellent and realistic Article!!! embrace it world!!

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

you can't have a window for one country's domestic tournament. An IPL window would be secumbing to money and power. Its unfair that only one country's domestic competition gets a window and no other country can have a window for their domestic competitions

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

The IPL is showing what international cricket needs to do ... Have more MEANINGFUL tournaments! These pointless Bilateral series are a waste of time, playing for rankings? Come on we should have more regional tournaments. a European Championship for T20's ... African Championship for 50 overs. Get more nations involved and build UP cricket.

Posted by Nerk on (May 31, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Wow, talk about hostility to test matches. I don't understand why people cant just like cricket. Each form presents different scenarios, different challenges and require different skills. And, at heart, each is the same game. You can have 20/20s that are as boring as watching grass grow, and test matches that hold your attention for five days. And I wish people would stop comparing cricket to NFL or NBA. Cricket is a far better sport. If you need a sport to compare it to, compare it to soccer (football) please.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (May 31, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

LOVED THE WHOLE ARTICLE ESPECIALLY THE LAST PARAGRAPH . EVEN AFTER THE 8-0 THRASHING THAT INDIA RECIEVE BCCI IS STILL DOMINANT & INDIA ARE POWERHOUSE OF CRICKET .

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

An "IPL window" would amount to a prohibition on staging international cricket in April and (most of) May. Bad news especially for England and West Indies. With nine test grounds in England & Wales having spent millions on upgrading facilities and increasing capacity, only international cricket is going to pay the bills. An artificial ban on the seven-Test summer might spell disaster for Glamorgan, Hampshire, Durham, Lancashire or Yorkshire. Or can we shoehorn sufficient international cricket into a shorter period to satisfy at least ten (now that Bristol is back in the game) grounds? Bad news equally for the less fashionable Test teams whose tours of England would be at risk.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 31, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

I think it irks many people, myself included, that the rest of the world should have to arrange their own schedule around what is basically a domestic tournament. Also, is it really fair to do favours for the IPL and not for other franchise-based T20 touranments. The reality is though that there is so much money in the IPL that non-Indian players are going to want to play it and market forces will have to be bent to. I guess we just have to hope that the BCCI doesn't choose to use it as leverage and start making unreasonable demands on the ICC and other boards.

Posted by AhoBil on (May 31, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

The IPL will always be a hit in India ( which is 80% of the world market for cricket by any yardstick) as it is a format in which India can never lose.

Posted by landl47 on (May 31, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

There are only two groups of people interested in the IPL- Indians and non-Indian players anxious to get their hands on Indian cash. If you check the IPL threads on Cricinfo you will find NO comments from anyone other than Indians, because the rest of us just aren't interested. Unfortunately, as experience is showing, the non-Indian players are prepared to forego representing their country in order to play IPL- KP is the latest. Hopps is therefore right; the rest of the cricket world has to acknowledge that Indian money is more important to players than the game. Create the window and let the chips fall where they may. Frankly, as long as the real game is saved, I don't care. Treat it as the players using their spare time to make a bit of easy money playing knockabout games.

Posted by ultrasnow on (May 31, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

@David Hopps - The IPL cheerleader girls would wanna do a special jig for your suggestion mate.

Posted by cricpolitics on (May 31, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

Thank God the IPL is finally over after two excruciatingly long months.

Posted by cricpolitics on (May 31, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

It's an Indian tournament for the Indian people only. Why do you want to create such a long window just for this and deprive other countries and people from International cricket.

Posted by Delb on (May 31, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

You would then need to create windows for everyone otherwise it would be a farce, but in doing so would also create a farce. In no other industry would the regulator or government facilitate such a massive advantage, competition is important.

Posted by wibblewibble on (May 31, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

Test cricket is a magnitude more interesting than bish-bosh IPL with it's sub-par medium pacers being flogged to cow corner by flailing bats.

The ultimate test of bat and ball is Test cricket (the clue is in the name), and it is noteworthy that a lot - but not all - of the 'top' T20 batsmen are not great Test players, they simply are strong and throw a heavy bat at the ball, which works when the field is spread to the boundaries. Their technique is shoddy, and when they come to play real cricket, with men around the bat, quickly come unstuck.

Test cricket may be decreasing in popularity in India, but in the UK it is the only form of cricket that we really care about. Test matches are avidly followed, I haven't missed a ball of this series, and 10,000 went to SL to watch the Tests.

Note that this isn't a dig at IPL bowlers - I also am not interested in the English domestic T20 competition, which also suffers from a lack of quality bowlers.T20I is ok, when you have 5 decent bowlers.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

If IPL is to be given a global window, the tournament should also be come more global. There should be no restriction on foreign players and the best possible teams should play. This will only improve the standard of cricket and make the league more global which I believe is the ultimate aim.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

People will tire of it eventually because of the gimmick-laden approach.

Posted by Praxis on (May 31, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

[contd]...Now go ahead & pick a few of your favourite cricketers in the most recent decade, now check how many of them made any name without being successful in tests? The most cricket crazy nation India recently were whitewashed against AUS & ENG. Judging by media reactions most of Indian fans were very upset, why would they be so if tests are really going to be fossilized in near future? Finally, please don't draw comparison between different sports.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

@DavidHopps."What is frustrating about the current situation is that an IPL window would not be difficult to achieve. It consisted of 76 matches in 53 days, running from April 4 to May 27. Reduce that to 49 days and begin on April 1 and it can finish on May 20. There seems to be no other time of the year."

Absolutely. You say that Test cricket and the IPl have to learn to live together. What sacrifice has the IPL made thus far? It's been Test and first class cricket that have made the sacrifices with odd Test squads and a County Championship starting at a time when most of us still have gloves and scarves at the ready. The IPL finished the Test careers of those who played in the ICL purely to feather their own nest. There was no concern for the greater good then so what makes you think they'd do it now?

Posted by Praxis on (May 31, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

@gowtham73, I really didn't want to explain it all over again & getting the feeling that you'll think I hate T20s. But why don't I give it a try? Empty stands? How many people have time to be in stadium for 5 days? have you experienced the facilities of those places anywhere in this subcontinent? There aren't many empty stands in SA, AUS or ENG. You picked the numbers of how many people watch the scores online or just highlights of test matches? It saddens me a lot that to you probably cricket is just a batsman's game. I mean you just could try watching highlights of WI fast bowlers in the 70s & 80s. Haven't seen Akram, Younus, Ambrise, Walsh or Donald in the 90s at least? I am saying, despite this cracker of an IPL season, the bowling standard is still very poor. Those great bowlers I mentioned about should give you some necessary perspective about quality of bowling. Why would you only mention about patience or leaving the ball, are you new to watching test cricket?

Posted by liaqathussain on (May 31, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

if ipl is given a window.. will big bash and other league be given a window also?

its about time india let their players play in other leagues also then, since the ipl cricketers have become rich but cricket has become non stop and abit to much,

Posted by remnant on (May 31, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

This seems a reasonable option and one bargian could be made here if so many foreign players are available: that atleast 5 foreign players are played in atleast 50% of the matches each side plays in the league phase. Knockout should be free for the frnachise to decide. This will lift the standard of the competition and avail of the foreign tlaent pool to be displayed.

Posted by rmall1 on (May 31, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

@gowtham73-'why should leaving the ball be considered to be a better skill than switch hits', I dunno, maybe you should ask 95% of professional cricketers who will agree that test cricket is the pinnacle. Saying that t20s are better than tests shows you have a limited attention span and don't fully understand cricket, but it's harder to win a test match than a random 20 over slog fest FACT.I can't understand why people would avidly prefer to watch any form where the luckier team beats the better team more often than not. I do agree that there should be maybe a one month window, I believe that all three formats should live together-there is room for all three so long as t20 isnt overkilled and we dont play 7 game ODI series. But there is nothing finer than watching bowlers bamboozle batsmen who need genuine skill to score runs, rather than having a swing and getting lucky sometimes. As a batsman myself I can say that longer formats are harder. To imply test cricket is inferior is insane

Posted by ste13 on (May 31, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

I think test cricket will be stopped sooner than everybody thinks. India will pull out from tests after failure (financial) of test series against England. I agree with some comments, let 20/20 cricket develop as it suits more to the global audience and modern life. It may seem sad, but we have to move forward.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Despite all the hype , money & power that the IPl has it is still just a domestic tournament like any other. If IPl gets a window then it would be within the rights of any domestic tournament that utilizes international overseas players to demand a window for themselves i.e. English county cricket, BPl, PPl, BBl, SLPL as well as the leagues in South Africa& Zimbabwe. ICC would have to create 8 windows for all these tournaments & that is highly unlikely to happen.

Posted by India_boy on (May 31, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

I SIMPLY DO NOT agree with those who want to do away with Test Matches. Just because a new format has taken shape, the oldest and the most enduring one becomes obsolete? people should not forget that Test cricket was the START of cricket. even now the rules and regulations in place for T-20 are nothing but twisted form of Test cricket rules. It is test cricket that has given us the likes of bradman, Hutton, Miller, Sobers, Sunny, Miandad, Botham, Lillee, Warne, Dravid and Sachin. It has endured for 125 years, you think T-20 will go for more than 25 years? It is the overall balance of Test cricket that makes you enjoy the "onesidedness" of T-20. Test cricket is like a phenomena that is revealed over a period of 5 days, how is this compared to T-20 where the game is decided in the first 10 overs itself? if u r a real fan of cricket, u ought to like all the formats, I love Test, ODIs and T-20s with equal aplomb

Posted by India_boy on (May 31, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@all those suggesting that Hopps has a stake in the success of IPL, or that he is in favor of creating a window for IPL, please read the whole thing again. He simply said that IPL will have its own unofficial window anyways and owing to its power, credibility and influence, players will choose IPL over country, which in turn, will lead to a further debasing of cricket. IPL will increase no matter what, then why not create a window so that players can concentrate on country cricket wholeheartedly, for, at least the remaining year? this is what this guy is saying and he's right! As for other tournaments asking for the same, let us wait for two three years, if players start skipping their team matches for other T-20s like they almost do for IPL, we will see.For now, its only IPL that deserves a window!

Posted by gowtham73 on (May 31, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

IPL is by far the most watchable cricket tournament in the world.. It is so much more interesting that those dull and drab test matches. The Gavaskars and the ex test players swear by the Test format but what is the use of that test when not a single person wants to watch them. Why should patience and 'leaving the ball' be considered to be a better skill than switch hits or smashing sixes? IPL is so lively with a great mix of local and foreign players. most of the matches were well fought except for those with PWI. I wont be surprised if more and more players quit test cricket and only aim for an IPL berth. In face i believe that test matches will be confined to the archives in another 10 years.. i hope that happens. This just seems similar to the popularity of NFL, NBA etc in the US.. great quality and most importantly very entertaining and colorful

Posted by snbirdi on (May 31, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

All you guys saying "IPL has very poor standard of cricket", please, stop it! You're starting to embarrass yourself now. There are more moments of brilliance in IPL than a few mistakes here 'n there. More often that not, commentators say things like "that was an amazing shot", or "what a catch", or "wow that was an amazing piece of fielding". The mistakes that are made by the players are common in all other formats too once in a while. They just seem to be exaggerated in the IPL because the matches are one after the other. IPL is a great representative of cricket and best of all, the best shot we have to make cricket a global (and perhaps an olympic) game.

Posted by UrKiddingMe on (May 31, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

@Tigg The IPL standard was pretty good this year. There is not such a gap between the Indian uncapped players and the international players - as was demonstrated in the final.

Posted by eZoha on (May 31, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

Good piece, David. I agree with most of the points you have mentioned. The maximum number of foreign players should be increased to 5 or 6 though. And 53 days is too long for a window. Make it 35 to 40 days somehow. Instead of similar number of home and away games, they can easily have a system with 8 home games and 4 away games. They did something similar in 2011 (playing 10 teams) to reduce the number of matches, and it worked too.

Posted by Team_India_Rocx on (May 31, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

IPL is good, but it should have LESS of GLAMOUR and MORE of CRICKET.

Posted by PrajithR on (May 31, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

No need to have IPL window .... BCCI should reduce Forriegn players to 2 or 3 and increase the duration of league to 90 days (march - may) with around 14 teams ..... This article is another two faced attempt to control Indian Market by the losing Foreign players.... If IPL is popular & people want it 365 days, then it should run for 365 days .... I make this statement after viewing the crowd for TEST matches & IPL in India .... People should be given what they want to see - NO what one Mr. Hopps or anyone else want to see .... People have enough intelligence to decide what they like ..... What is the problem of IPL when compared to baseball or football ???

Posted by Tigg on (May 31, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

The IPL is a domestic tournament. The standard of cricket is poor. If you give it a window it will just try and grow even larger taking up more time.

With the decrease in viewers and ad sales the IPL is on a downwards spiral.

Posted by Humdingers on (May 31, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

Get used to it. India rule the Cricket World (maybe not in the rankings, but sure as hell everything else). It's a testament of the country that despite the politics, ridicule from foreigners over the years, it can rise above it all.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

There's still holes in the argument for this, i'm afraid. I just don't see English administrators or fans taking kindly to this idea of having their own schedule shortened for the IPL to become the sacred cash cow of cricket. Likewise the WICB who are already strapped for cash. The BCCI too are never going to release their own players in some sort of you scratch my back and i'll scratch yours type of deal, that is simply not how they work. I would also see a September/October timeframe as working far more effectively towards gaining a truce from the other nations boards... cheers

Posted by TriniTraveller on (May 31, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

An IPL window is a necessity to world cricket. Not because it is fair but because it is realistic to deal with the powerhouse that is Indian's cricket.

To find room in the calendar I think is pretty simple. Ditch ODIs. I am just about old enough to remember the talk in the 80's that ODIs were "pajama" cricket that is only played because of the commercial gains. Well I agree. And the market has moved on. So ditch this commercial construct that is ODI cricket and make your money from 2020s. No ODI world cup, no ODI series. Just domestic T20 leagues, windowed IPL & Champions league plus a annual world T20I world cup (required or where would the ICC make their money?!?) and a 4 year Test championship.

India gets a windowed IPL plus they get to enshrine their god, Sachin as the all time greatest ODI batsman because there would never be any more games :o)

Posted by skepticaloptimist on (May 31, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Surely one cannot be naive enough to simply tag the IPL as another domestic tournament. Yes, it's just a domestic tournament, but be realistic: it's orders of magnitudes bigger in terms of the players, viewers, and sponsors it attracts. Do you have guys like Simon Taufel umpiring BPL or BBL games? No! Why? We all know! A window for the IPL would only be a positive move.

Posted by TriniTraveller on (May 31, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

I am a West Indian. I welcome the IPL because it is making professional sportsmen of young WIndians (if you ever saw Keiron Pollard stumbling around the field in his early T&T matches (it brought to mind an over weight Flintoff), compare that to the athlete who now competes in the IPL.....that is what professionalism (and motivation - money) brings). WICB is incapable of doing that for its players so the IPL has a role. It just needs a sheltered window now to allow all those players to bring that professionalism back to international cricket. It also brings to mind what the Packer years did in shaping the dominant WI team of the 1980s. IPL can be good for WI cricket. I just wish the ICC, through self-interest, would stop inadvertently helping to destroy WI cricket.

Posted by rbabur on (May 31, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

Day is not far off for Crcket to go football way of mostly league tournaments and some international fixtures. And sensibly, it is taking lesser time of yours. How many tests are happening in Hockey and we can call that also as purist game. And with talent getting reduced (no one to replace Warne, Mcgrath, Sachin, Lara etc... Do we have any of the battles in last two years like that except for Sachin vs Steyn), there is no point having some irrational FTPs.

Posted by Metro-ant on (May 31, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

Are they serious when they say to give IPL a window? It is just a domestic competition with heavy amounts of money pumping the competition. We all know what happened in Sharjah. And on the West Indies team, I'm no Aussie fan but you have to admire the way they put country before IPL, for example Clarke, Hussey and Watson. Yes they get paid more than other countries but it's not like these West Indians or Sri Lankans are making a pittance. Women's cricket I can assure you that while many would play for their country, they would also have at least a part time job to pay the bills. At least the men get sponsorships and endorsements.

Posted by SouthPaw on (May 31, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

@Yorkshire pudding: Will you support the patriotic test cricketer by the margin of money he loses by shunning IPL for Test cricket? Get real! These are professional cricketers and they have a "window of competence", before they become old or burn out or get edged out by others. So, they have to make hay while the sun shines. As simple as that!

Posted by bluebillion on (May 31, 2012, 8:02 GMT)

@ TheOnlyEmperor: Soccer does provide windows for internationals. Soccer unlike cricket is the other way round where leagues run for a year and internationals are few and far between. All major football competitions (apart from the Africa Nations Cup) are held in the gap between the end of one league season and the start of the next. Even then, many players cite injuries to not play for their country. Also in football, there are no league games scheduled when there are international friendlies or qualifiers. As mentioned in this article, it is not complicated to have a window for the IPL if only to make teams like WI and NZ stronger with their best players available to play for the country.

The one problem in the otherwise excellent article was that Malinga did not retire from test cricket due to the IPL - it was to lengthen his career in the shorter format as he cant bowl 20 - 25 overs a day anymore due to injuries. He had just come back for Murali's last test to help him win it.

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (May 31, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

I love the last paragraph! India Rules! :)

Posted by garr on (May 31, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

In Australia there was no television coverage, certainly not mainstream nor dominant pay tv.I am not a fan of 20/20 , I can reel off great innings and bowling performances in test cricket and even the odd memorable one day performance, Messers Bevan,Symonds in Wld Cup and VIV for example. However I defy anyone to know or perhaps care if and when a century is scored in 20/20. The only possible reason to postpone all cricket to satisfy the hit and giggle is to ensure test players are available when this silly tournament is on. Frustratingly with players representing two teams ,such as Sydney or Delhi, the champions tourney loses credibility. Gayle can't bat for NZ. I went to two days of Clarkes 300, that is cricket It seems a pity to minimise Test cricket for the benefits of a game which contrary to Mr Hopps view , that the game of 20/20 is booming, interest is primarily focused in the country of the tournament, otherwise many don't care nor will it ever be relevant when assessing greats

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (May 31, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

NO league on this planet Earth can rival the IPL, both in popularity and dynamics. The BCCI will ensure that. So the ICC have ONLY 1 choice: let the world's BEST T20 league have its own window. The BCCI should actually just demand it. I don't know what they are waiting for. Being the most powerful cricketing nation, India still wants to hear out from the rest. That's a good thing. Test cricket to me is a WASTE of time and resources. I have always been vocal in my opposition to the oldest form of the sport. T20 is the future of cricket and IPL will ensure that. A separate window for the IPL will ensure every cricket player can earn well by playing high octane cricket. After all every human being wants to earn more in short space. Right now, many players simply miss out on the IPL because they got meaningless international fixtures. The IPL will do a lot of good in the long run. It's only a matter of time before tests an alien entity.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (May 31, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

I do feel that IPL will continue to get stronger despite this article or what ever ICC decrees in terms of windows. So not sure if this is a wise article as it does not inform any debate. There is no debate. IPL will grow, Test will declin, over time. There will be 100 "purists" attending vast cricket stadiums watching Tests.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (May 31, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

Here is thought to go along with special IPL window. Just scrap off international T20s altogether for test playing nations and limit that format to only tournaments like IPL, Big Bash, w/e ECB has on and BBL etc. There is no need to play T20s at an international level. What does a 20 over match mean at that level? who cares? Let T20 be used to spread cricket in new markets.

It an international T20 needs to be played then ICC must mandate that the match must involve a non-test playing nation. This way if Ind, Eng or SL boards wanna make a quick buck, then they must turn to Kenya, Ireland and others.

And ICC must bring in a law that says no touring team must play more ODIs on a tour than scheduled tests. That way, if Ind wants to play only 4 tests in Aus, they can only play 4 ODIs or less. No more. One day matches beyond the WC are meaningless anyway... Just a rambling thought. And yeah, thsi is coming from an Indian, if that matters to some :)

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (May 31, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Water finds its own level. There's no need for a separate IPL window. Do soccer players playing for various clubs need a window to play for their country? That's the question. Is the player an IPL player first and then his country's player? Should he be asked to make a choice? If he is, then isn't that stupid? ICC must prioritize Tests, ODIs and T20s in that order given the fact that every country is likely to have their own T20 leagues in the future. In fact ICC NEEDS to have a WC for T20s and ODIs every 2 years, that way there's always be a WC every year to keep the cricket fan's adrenalin flowing. IPL is good for cricket, 'cos it keep the audience base from drifting to other sports. Sport itself competes for attention and time with the movies and the internet (social media). IPL has managed to make inroads and blend people occupied in these other zones into cricket and we must all be grateful for it. If Tests survive a 100yrs from now it would be 'cos of IPL protected cricket!

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

I can only support this idea if the IPL allows more than 4 international cricketers to play in a game, otherwise this is nothing more than a gathering of superstars to help the development of the shorter version of the game in India.

Posted by Viv-Viru on (May 31, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

David, your article will mark a watershed moment in cricket. That is the beginning of recognition by the status-quo in cricket (both outside India and in India) that cricketers deserve to earn a good living just as their peers have been doing for a long time in other sports.

Golfers earn a lot of money on various global tours but consider it an honor to play in Ryder Cup. Tennis players earn a living on the ATP tour and volunteer in Davis Cup and Olympics.

A big part of the criticism of IPL is that some people cannot wrap their head around the fact that cricketers are finally earning what the market is willing to pay for them. They think narrowly in terms of IPL vs test cricket whereas cricket should be thinking of competing for fans and entertainment dollars against various other global sports.

Peopl will eventually get around to accept this fact. For all its critisim, IPL in only its fifth season is more well organized and more popular than most others at that stage.

Posted by brittop on (May 31, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding: If the Big Bash and other T20 leagues start attracting players in the quantities that the IPL does, then test cricket is lost anyway. Give the IPL a window, the players can earn shed loads, then they can play test cricket and not worry about taking part in the other leagues.

Posted by CricFan78 on (May 31, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

Two words for this article "Stunning piece"

Posted by Meety on (May 31, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

I agree with Hopps, that there is a need for a window, even though it is a domestic competition. What I disagree with primarily is that why does it have to be 7 weeks long? There's too many teams in the IPL, & it should be able to be condensed to say 5 weeks, & allow a window of 4 weeks - starting in the 3rd week - so as to allow a week between the end of the event & the start of some tours.

Posted by VajiraToronto on (May 31, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

Giving one country an international window is surely not the answer when we have several domestic competitions taking place. They all hope to rival the IPL one day. If you swallow what Hopps is saying, you'll need to give every country a window and soon you won't have many months left for international cricket. How about full disclosure, Hopps? Why not mention that your business partner and friend is benefiting greatly from the IPL too?

Posted by Riderstorm on (May 31, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

One way or the other IPL is creating a ruckus in the game of cricket. Purists hate it and cricketers love it for their financial security in times of uncertainity. I have one question for all the guys who hate IPL, do you by any chance help any of the struggling cricketers once they are done with the game or if they couldn't find the time or opportunity to shine in the limelight.? Can you honestly say that boards are being honest and responsible with respect to the amount of money and workload that is put on the international cricketers? I'm sure you do not have reasonable answers for these questions then you do not have any authority over how a player chooses to make use of his talent in the game. IPL according to me gives the players a leverage against the board monopoly. Such a competitive system would bring in some robust techniques and innovativeness to the game.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (May 31, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

Another thing cricket boards can do is allow NOC to the players who are selected for IPL irrespective of their stature and pedigree and let them play in the IPL window uninhabited and get on with international cricket without them. It is unfair for a professional to ask to choose between his and his families well being and his beloved country. Most will say that it will lead to cricketers turn into freelancers. But it is inevitable. Even though WI lost out on Bravo and Gayle they still had Samuels and Roach playing for them. Some common sense should prevail among all. In the end money is a too powerful a force to fight with loyalty in todays world.

Posted by rofl on (May 31, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

If u ask the IPL governing body, they dont want a window because they dont care. IPL at the moment has a salary cap, imagine what will happen when that salary cap is increased or eliminated completely.. rest assured KP will be tweeting about Delhi in Delhi , Gayle will tell WICB where to go and a few more english players will be warming the benches in India rather than in a english test squad. Ultimately it will lead to all the best players will be playing in IPL and the players who put country above everything else will be playing against not-so-good players which will lead to degradation of test cricket. So to save test cricket either IPL has to be banished completely(like ICL) or embraced completely. BTW I like to watch IPL and just follow the scores of test cricket..who has the time to waste a day watching cricket anyway.

Posted by vaidyar on (May 31, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

Reminds me of Dravid's Bradman oration: Cut out meaningless ODIs and restrict them to ICC tournaments. Let T20s be played not as international teams, but franchises in the leagues. Test cricket will be the main format for international matches. How many days of overkill has been caused by 7 match ODI series which no one cares anymore about, after a 4 test series?

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

Surely the simplest & most effective - yet admittedly also the most radical - option would be to remove 40 & 50-over cricket completely, both domestically & internationally. However many Powerplay permutations & other assorted gimmicks are adopted within the ODI format, essentially it remains one in which two periods of slogging - i.e. during the first & final 10 overs - are padded out with 25/30 overs of relentlessly dull prodding & poking by the batsmen accompanied by ultra-defensive bowling & fielding. Those 25/30 overs are *precisely* what the T20 format has succeeded so brilliantly in excising, so why not go the whole hog & take ODIs out of the equation completely? Such a solution would ease fixture congestion & injuries to players as well as allowing a firmly-demarcated series of windows during which *either* Test cricket *or* T20s would be played. It would also allow a T20 World Cup every single year, in addition to the creation of a genuine Test championship with play-offs.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

The issue is the administrators running ICC are myopic and BCCI, as mentioned by the writer don't care because BCCI is fully aware IPL carrot is too juicy. Shane Warne also mentioned this when he was on air in the 2nd Test Match between ENG, WI - create IPL window, if you can do that all major players in the world will be available will not have such moral dilemma, we won't create a Chris Gayle like situation again in future. Quite frankly not many players will be interested in KFC Bigbash, BPL or some of the silly leagues planned in future because nobody can offer as much money as IPL can and players will (at least most) turn their backs on these leagues. Might sound simple & might be more complicated but ICC can give it a try. But the issue is ICC will continue to leave in denial as they have been all these years. Sadly we will continue to have Chirs Gayle, Sunil Narine type of situations every single year.

Posted by skepticaloptimist on (May 31, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

I can't agree more that the IPL should play five foreigners. In fact, a guy even wrote an excellent, no BS blog post on cricinfo about it: http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/iplinbox/archives/2012/04/play_five_foreign_players_to_h.php. It has 191 comments, and probably 75 percent of them disagree with the author; I'm with 25%. Five will increase the competitiveness and simply put, make the league more entertaining for Indians as well as non-Indian audiences.

Posted by AzyS on (May 31, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Brilliant article David.. IPL should be given a window just coz no other t20 league can match the power,money,crowds and excitement.. this will help all the international players benefit financially and also remain loyal to their national teams.. the BCCI in return should allow its players to play in the other leagues all over the world and also in county cricket to gain valuable experience.. AND ONE GREAT IDEA FOR THE IPL IS TO ALLOW 8 FOREIGN IN EVERY MATCH.. 4 WHILE BATTING N 4 WHILE BOWLING.. THIS WILL SPICE UP THE COMPETITION EVEN MORE AND THE LEVEL OF CRICKET WILL BE SIMPLE MINDBLASTING..

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Simply BRILLIANT article....I am a WI (of Indian origin) living in Canada. So, I would like to think that I have a more objective view, being away from the action. My family in Canada, brothers, sisters, etc., all feel that this should be. While √ąYorkshirepudding missed the whole point, the other more intelligent commenters above feel that this should be....Also, it ought to be shorter. I know that it is fair that India wants to expose local talent (and it is their right to do so) but this can still be achieved with five International players fielding. For the uncapped Indian locals, two must be made to bat in the first six and 4 overs to be bowled in the first ten by them. This way, good guys are on the field and the locals get the required exposure. Hats off to you Mr. David...Wicked article!!!!

Posted by venkatesh018 on (May 31, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

I agree almost entirely with the article except for one point. If India allows its players to take part in the T20 leagues of other countries then the whole Indian first class cricket system, already downgraded by players giving prominence to IPL season than Ranji trophy, will crumble and it will bring down the already tetering edifice of Test cricket in India and around the world.

Posted by Charith99 on (May 31, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

if ipl is given an official window then the league must allow at least 5 or 6 foreign players in their playing eleven otherwise the fans from all other countries will be denied a chance to watch their own players play for nearly two months every year.By allowing more foreign players the standard of cricket will improve immensely too. (we might actually see gayle hitting sixes of decent bowlers for a change)

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

Why should IPL only be given separate window? Why not other t20 leagues like BPL, BBL, etc, etc? For an Indian where equality is the utmost priciple, it is difficult to understand why IPL is so special?

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (May 31, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

David, Why should a DOMESTIC competition make way for Test cricket, after the IPL, it also compresses the WI's and English seasons such that the west indies will not be able to play cricket in thier window, and test cricket in england will be compressed in having to play 7 tests going Jun-Aug with no time for ODI's agaisnt visting teams without reducing the number of tests. What happens with T20 leagues around the world then DEMAND thier window, the SLPL is going to be Jul/Aug, the Big Bash is Nov/Dec, then the SA T20 league, English T20, BD T20, WI's T20, PCB T20, eventually you've got rid of Test cricket in favour of an inferior form of the game. One you open the Door you cant close it.

Posted by skepticaloptimist on (May 31, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

Excellent article, David. It's great that people are starting to realize the difference between "what it should be" and "what it is" - idealism vs realism all over again. What it should be: teams should compete in the Test arena all year around, and the beautiful story resumes. What it really is: whilst Test cricket retains its charm, the charm itself comes from the fact that teams only play 8-10 a year, and therefore, the overdose does not happen. As long as good cricket remains central to the IPL's success, like it was this year, the big-money, the glitzy league will increase the Indians' appreciation for cricket, which also includes Test cricket. All that said, I still feel that the IPL should become a tad shorter, perhaps, limited to six weeks. As long as the overdose is avoided, I don't see why IPL, Test cricket, and ODIs can't stay there in tandem and continue to entertain cricket fans.

Posted by natasrik on (May 31, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

To make things more interesting one should allow more flexibility for foreign players, otherwise I see players like Styris, tamin and other good players wasting their time. One way either allow 5 players atleast for 8 matches out of 16 matches. The second option would be to allow only foreign players to change between innings i.e like in the finals, maybe Lee coming on to bowl while KKR fielding and Bredon Maccullum coming on to bat while batting, in that way we probably can make use of the best foreign talents in almost every match and would be more challenging.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.

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