MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture September 3, 2014

IPL should not exist - Botham

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'IPL too powerful' - Botham

Ian Botham used the platform of his MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture to brand the IPL "too powerful" for the good of cricket and said he believed it should not exist.

He said that the tournament provided the "perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing" and on the subject of corruption also called on the ICC to do more to expose the "big names" involved.

"I'm worried about the IPL - in fact, I feel it shouldn't be there at all as it is changing the priorities of world cricket," Botham said. "Players are slaves to it. Administrators bow to it.

"How on earth did the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game?

"I know this has been modified to a degree, but it is still an imbalance. The IPL is too powerful for the long-term good of the game.

"Corruption is enough of a problem in itself, but the IPL compounds that problem given it provides the perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing."

Expanding on the corruption theme, he added: "We have seen a few players exposed, but does throwing the odd second XI player into jail solve it? To kill the serpent, you must cut off its head. The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit must pursue the root of the problem and if necessary expose the big names."

Closer to home, Botham questioned whether the presence of central contracts had made England's players too "cosy" and also called on the UK government to do more cricket in schools.

"Central contracts are brilliant, but it has now become so essential to the England player that the sharpness goes," he said. "A long contract is a cosy contract. To play international sport, above all else - above even freshness and rest - you must have desire. Hunger is still the most important attribute for any sportsman."

On the facilities and time given to sport, especially cricket, in schools Botham said it drove him "insane" how little is being done and called on the Prime Minister David Cameron to live up to his promise of making change happen.

"Why aren't the Government focusing on sport as a necessity in the school curriculum?" he said. "This subject drives me insane. I feel it is my duty to point out the problems that face sport in schools, and specifically cricket.

"The problem is now that schools are too big and there is no personal touch with the teachers. And as schools get bigger, one of the things you lose are your playing fields," he added. "Come on David Cameron - when I came to Downing Street to meet you, you made all the right noises and promised to come back to me with your ideas. I'm still waiting."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Just imagine Morgan Freeman saying "" He is right , you know " :D

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2014, 22:36 GMT

    No getting rid of IPL. That just cannot be done now.

    So every board should start their own Cricket franchise (actually a full time cricketing club) league (not just for T20 format). No matter how small they are. The timing of the league should depend on the weather and seasons of a country, not on the timing of the IPL. You can ask what will this do. This will trigger a debate among the domestic franchisees to allow players to go and play for foreign franchisee.

    Which means cricketers will have to be bought like club football. Yes!!! Transfer fees cricketers. This will help generate money when a country's talent goes to play in abroad. Also no restrictions/problems when they are call to play for their county.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    Neighbour's Envy. Owner's Pride.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 2:53 GMT

    I agree with Sir Ian. IPL Is all about India. countries with smaller markets or poorer nations are at the mercy of the IPL. The Indian board now has the money, but without a coompetative WI, NZ, PAK or SL, everybody will lose. As a WEst Indian, I feel cheated everytime a Sunil Narine or Pollard choose the money before country. But every dog has its day and India's Stending power will not last forever.

  • Ashish on September 5, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    @ all....good to see more and more people are talking in favor of IPL and at the same time accept that it needs to improve and understands that it will happen with time....cheers

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    While Botham's words are partially true and his concerns are literal, they are insignificant. ICC can never ever gain control on either IPL or could organize a similar event with equivalent success. India is a very unique market for sports, highly unlike any other in the world. The numbers are gigantic and incomparable to any other single country. Cricket (IPL) rules people's interest and admiration here today (at least in present). You cannot shut it down, but can only beat with something better and bigger - that could potentially generate more interest and, most importantly, more money than it. On the contrary, I think, most of such critics would have had a very different opinion had they were in the driving seat of such an extravaganza. Then, their voice would be very different then how it is heard today. Unfortunate, but one cannot underestimate the power, or enshroud the visibility of money. If you are against the word 'sports-entertainment', go watch golf.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 1:53 GMT

    Well i agree with you, Mr. Botham.... I expected you to start talking from 'unsuccessful EPL' and ended with IPL would be nice - that yardstick should be measured correctly everywhere!!

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 1:36 GMT

    one has to agree with I Botham.

  • Sudhir on September 5, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    Makes no sense. Just another hater. He really did not do a good job of explaining his negative position on IPL. If BCCI is responsible for paying all the Intl boards, then all leagues of the world should pay other boards. Which will make it a useless give and take policy. IPL just needs to check on corruption. On the positive side it provides thousands with jobs (hotels, airlines, restaurants etc.) while season is on- not to speak of players.

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    IPL is cheap entertainment. Its long term impacts are bad for the game of cricket. There is a modern tendency for people to go for instant stuff, like instant food. Instant food is very popular. But that does not mean the long term implications of instant food are good for health. From a Sri Lanka cricket's development perspective, IPL has been a curse. In 2007, players went up to country's president and got a England test tour cancelled because of IPL. It is true that was a short series in early summer as a replacement for a cancelled series against Zimbabwe. But our players would have benefited a lot from that experience. In 2011, test tour of England SL squad arrived in small groups because of IPL commitments. The two key players Sanga and Mahela not having enough time to acclimatise to conditions affected their form throughout the test series we lost 1-0. Thankfully with virtually no player participation in IPL we are doing great in international cricket even in T20s.

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