Pakistan news October 3, 2008

Mushtaq for ICL-IPL playoff

Cricinfo staff

Mushtaq Ahmed: "There's only one way to find out which one is better, by having an IPL vs ICL set of games, that's the best way to settle the argument." © Getty Images

Mushtaq Ahmed has said the BCCI can capitalise on the rivalry between the IPL and the unofficial ICL by holding a tournament involving the best teams of both leagues. The ICL were the innovators of the format, he said, and the ban on players joining them was "grossly unfair" and had "no justification".

"I think the BCCI should embrace the ICL and capitalise on all the interest in India surrounding the cold war between the IPL and the ICL," he said in an interview with PakPassion. "Cricket lovers around the world would want to watch the ICL square off against the IPL. The BCCI could generate an insane amount of revenue and sell out every stadium if they held an IPL v ICL tournament. They should seriously look into it, maybe by allowing the ICL champions to play in the Champions Trophy in December and then [take] it from there."

Mushtaq, who is currently contracted with the Lahore Badshahs for two more years in the unofficial ICL, retired from county cricket this season after six years with Sussex following persistent knee trouble.

He refused, however, to be drawn into the debate over which league was better. "The ICL were the innovators of the format and were the ones who put their necks on the line and risked their money in a private Twenty20 championship. They started the trend of paying the players the money they deserve from the profits they generate. The IPL has just jumped on to the ICL bandwagon now that the format has become a proven success.

"As for IPL vs ICL, I haven't played in the IPL but the standard of cricket in the ICL is very tough and it's very competitive. There's only one way to find out which one is better, by having an IPL vs ICL set of games, that's the best way to settle the argument," he said.

He believed it was unfair to stop players from accepting lucrative offers to play for the ICL, considering the low salaries in domestic cricket and was against the move by cricket boards to ban players who choose to play in a tournament like the ICL.

"Doesn't the BCCI understand that not every player will be able to play in the IPL and that competition brings out the best in everyone. What right does anyone have to stop a cricketer from plying his trade? It's not like he's committed a crime or done anything immoral. He's just agreed to play cricket for the ICL just like he plays cricket for his club team, his domestic team or his international team. There's no justification for boards like the PCB to totally ban players from all forms of cricket just because they've chosen to play for the ICL."

The second season of the ICL starts on October 10 with 41 matches scheduled in four venues.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • imran on October 8, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    Perosnally i think it is a great idea, especially for india as there would be alot of revenue generated through such a game. Talking about bans on players, im sure Paksitan could benfit by uplifting the ban. There are players playing in the ICL which could be a great addition to the current team. Some would say it is a step backwards, but i feel a few players not all could be bought back such as shabbir, razzak, hassan raza, taufiq umer, imran farhat and nazir, all these players would be very good for 20/20. Hasan raza could give us another option in the middle order as our middle order is ageing.I feel taufiq umer was a good opener who required another chance to prove himself. The most stupid decision was dropping razzak from 20/20, i think he should be bought back in the team, we tend to struggle alot in late order hitting as i feel shahid afridi is not living up to his name and we are still in dreamland thinking that we might for once see him perform with the bat.

  • usman on October 5, 2008, 2:56 GMT

    Not surprised that Mushy has talked about the possibility of BCCI cashing in on the rivalry. "Cashing in" has never been an option too distant from Mushy's mind. After all, he was punished in the '99 match-fixing Commisison by Pak's Judicial Commission and barred from holding any position associated with Pak cricket in the wake of the disgraceful phase of Pak cricket with some of the leading national cricketers auctioning their national souls for the sake of quick money.

    Virtually everybody knows ICL is the domain mainly of the retireds / rejects and has not such a huge fan base following like the IPL which took the cricketing world by storm and attracted a myriad of leading "present" international cricketers.

    Many here in Pak label ICL (It Can't Last) as such. Even looking at the Pak players who have signed for this version - there is nothing to show apart from the retireds / rejected and disgruntled brigade (Inzamam, Razzak, Mahmood, Imran Nazir etc.)

  • Suman on October 4, 2008, 15:45 GMT

    yes. lets have a "super bowl" of cricket. that is how the AFL and NFL leagues decided to settle their rivalry and today it is considered the most anticipated and highly watched show in the "world" (meaning USA).

    on a side note. I think the only way ICL is going to attract more audiences than IPL is by bringing in radical innovations to the game. Anyway ICC doesn't consider them "official". So, they should modify rules to create a better balance between batting and bowling. This will make their games more exciting and compelling to watch. Wait a minute this is exactly what the AFL did and succeeded in changing american football for the better.

  • Karthik on October 4, 2008, 14:54 GMT

    I agree with the writer. Perhaps to bring about more equality of commerce in this sport, there needs to be a radical reaction. Personally, It would make me very happy to see cricket lovers across India boycott all BCCI sponsored events. This to be continued till they relent and give equal opportunities for all such event holders. Some where I feel that the game is nothing without spectators and followers of the game. I am not surprised BCCI does not recognize this basic business principle. They have given all new meaning to the word "Green Field", smells more of currency...

  • Khalid on October 4, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    Mushtaq is trying to bowl a googly by stating that ICL were the innovators. True that they were the ones who floated this idea but as civilized nations we must follow some rules and in this case BCCI is the controlling authority of cricket in India therefore they should have joined BCCI in organizing this event which they obviously didnt therefore I would call then outlaws. In civilized society we do not encourage such acts therefore banning all those who joined the splinter group should have been banned, having said this I strongly feel that BCCI has done the right thing.

    Now coming to the issue as to which league was better than I would rate the IPL as the more successful format and the legal tournament. BCCI should not back down from their stand point and must not recognize the ICL tournaments.

  • prashanth on October 4, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    A very practical thought. By allowing the top two teams from ICL to play in the Champions League in December, it will be a fitting (read face-saving) way of ending this unjustified exclusion by the BCCI.

  • Fawzan on October 4, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    Awesome Idea...BCCI should really think about this........

  • arun on October 4, 2008, 3:54 GMT

    My comment in response to - India offers 'active' support to Bangladesh.

    "In USA they have two Baseball leagues and the end of season finale is the play off between the champions of each in the "World Series". Let the BCCI initiate such a match between the IPL and the ICL champions. Posted by Dubby49 on September 20 2008, 03:40 AM GMT"

    I'm glad Mushy thinks the same way. Now if only we could get the BCCI on the same track.

  • sat on October 4, 2008, 2:36 GMT

    It is great and promising idea to have a play off between ICL and IPL. But I really doubt whether BCCI will accept as we all know about BCCI is not interested in developing cricket and only interested of their (board members) personal interests. My opinion - ICL should fight with ICC and try to get some recognition from ICC and compete in other major tournments in the world. I am sure in few yrs ICL will grow further and ger recognition and will sure give BCCI run for their money.

  • Umair on October 4, 2008, 1:22 GMT

    This would be a great idea if BCCI accept, I agree with Mushi that ICL were the innovators of the format and BCCI should allow the players to take part of any leage they want. In the mean time ICC should ask other board to lift the ban from players. One more thing as a suggestion, that ICL and IPL should select the players from all over the world, not only from test playing countries. I Wish BCCI and ICL will work togather in the favour of cricket.

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