Rise of Twenty20 cricket August 6, 2008

Share Twenty20 riches - Jayawardene

Cricinfo staff

Mahela Jayawardene: "Everyone needs to get together and find one solution. That is, to have one big tournament where you get all the revenue and all cricket-playing countries to share that" © Getty Images

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, feels the spread of Twenty20 cricket needs to be controlled to prevent it from "taking international cricket apart" and says the "big solution" is to have one consolidated tournament where all cricket-playing countries get to share the revenue.

Speaking to Cricinfo editor Sambit Bal in Colombo, Jayawardene observed that, with players and administrators across the world driven by money, the time had come to strike a balance and get the priorities right on developing the game's shortest format.

"At the end of the day everything is driven by money," Jayawardene said. "You have to be honest with yourself. That means the players, the administrators, everybody. As long as everyone is happy and gets to share that, I think that's the way forward. That's where everyone has to draw a compromise."

"You need to strike a balance because they cannot compete with each other on these issues," he said. "It is important that you sit down and everyone gets together and finds one big solution. That is, to have one big tournament where you get all the revenue and cricket-playing countries to share that."

Jayawardene did not agree with the suggestion that Twenty20 might become 'The Game' if money is the overriding factor, and reiterated the answer lies in consolidation and not in having "five individual tournaments".

"If you have one big tournament and the revenue is being shared, then everyone's happy," he said. "You won't need to play five individual tournaments. Then there's room for Test cricket and you can pump in money and develop the game and take it globally. That's where the compromise needs to be drawn and everyone gets together to find a solution."

Asked whether the BCCI, which runs the IPL and is a founding partner of the Champions Twenty20 League, should take the lead and let everyone share the pot, Jayawardene said, "That's difficult for me to say after one year of the IPL. I don't know how big the English Premier League (EPL) or the Stanford games are going to be, but somewhere you have to draw the line. You have people competing against each other and taking international cricket apart. It's important to understand where you need to draw that line."

Jayawardene, who has signed a three-year contract for US$475,000 per season with Kings XI Punjab, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, said the best way forward is for all those involved in promoting Twenty20 cricket to draw the line and arrive at a compromise.

"The times and ways of thinking are changing and you need to evolve around that. Twenty20 is good for the game as long as people keep control of things," Jayawardene said. "You can't have three or four Twenty20 international tournaments a year. You just can't have that. It has to be controlled. Tests are very important; one-day cricket is important. You can't think that everybody wants Twenty20 cricket. Everyone wants cricket, but they want different varieties and there is a demand for everything."

The Sri Lankan players are currently in negotiations with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) over rescheduling the country's 2009 England tour, which clashes with the second IPL season. Apart from Jayawardene, 12 Lankan cricketers have signed for various IPL franchises, including Kumar Sangakkara, the vice-captain, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sai vikram on August 8, 2008, 21:55 GMT

    I dont agree with Jayawardane. Such things wont work out because cricket is more of a buisiness nowadays .Why will BCCI agree to share the money with other countries .

  • n s on August 8, 2008, 20:21 GMT

    To my thinking the present calsh will ultimately lead to a a polarisatin in terms of club cricket in the fofrm of twenty20 and Test Cricket among nations. ODIs will become redundant and irrelevant in due course of time. Then there will be enough room and money for both Test T20 cricket.

    T20 will follow the Football format and very other country will have its own tournamaent like the EPL and the Italian Serie A etc.

  • Nigel on August 8, 2008, 13:03 GMT

    I see this morning that the ICC will be monitoring the preponderance of T20 leagues / tournaments being created in recent times. Hopefully they will look at the ideas and opinions generated by this blog and perhaps formulate STANDARDS that will allow the game to achieve balance and grow in the way we (the fans) have already discussed. My hope is that blogs such as this that exist for THE GOOD OF THE GAME will always be references for cricket's development!!!

  • Chanaka on August 8, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    Players in both the ICL and the IPL do not represent national sides. They play for the sponsored teams, themselves and for the money they are paid. I dont see any reason why the ICC should have any influence on any aspect of the league. Let the leagues organize the tournaments and if they clash with ICC approved Tests or ODI's let the players decide whether they will represent their country or play for the money. I am sure there will be quite a number of players who will make themselves available for national duty rather than 20/20. This will ensure that the 20/20 tournaments will fall in line and there will be no clash of interests.

  • kazi on August 8, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    I totally agree with Mahela. We all like twenty20 but we should not let it be a big or serious tournament. We should keep it for fun but make such rules that not too many organizers will be too eager to hold one tournament. Twenty20 have a big potential to kill 50 over match if we are not carefull enough. We all should try to keep twenty20 at a distance from test and limited over matches.

  • Rajagopalan on August 8, 2008, 1:35 GMT

    Maheela Jayawardene is living in a dream world. No one would part with their money. The one option he may have is to start a rival tournament and attract players to play in the new team. He will not be able to convince anyone to share the revenue, except may be the Sri Lankan cricket board.

  • Jack on August 7, 2008, 19:04 GMT

    Mahela is 100 percent right! Trust this thinking, level headed guy to get it right. 20-20 is really about money, and about non-cricket fans seeking instant gratification. Its not for the cognoscenti. Personally, I take little interest. A famous cricketer had it spot on:" 20-20 is like baseball, except baseball is more interesting!" No, it must not be allowed to disrupt tests at all and not 50 over games either! The ODI offers a unique form of entertainment. Tactically, its by far the most fascinating, and while there's room for upsets, generally the top cricket sides come through. It makes a pleasant day's outing too. 20-20 is brain-dead! The bowlers are punchbags, its one-dimensional, and unless its artificially nurtured, I see it disappearing in time. The crowds that watch it are fickle, seeking all manner of instant gratification. It'll lose its flavour-of-the-month status, and they'll move on. Can't happen soon enough for me. If I want to see baseball, I'll watch the real thing

  • Faisal on August 7, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    I agree. In fact, I mentioned this in my post on July 8th at http://inningsbreak.blogspot.com that there should be one league across regions, similar to soccer.

  • Mani on August 7, 2008, 17:33 GMT

    Not sure what Mahela's the message is. Is he advocating governance of domestic leagues by the ICC? will this extend to county cricket in england and domestic cricket in AUS?

    Let me call this for what is. Operation "Swindle BCCI". Wouldn't be surprised if Ranatunga wrote this piece for Mahela. Where was all this clamoring for control of County cricket and Australian domestic season b4 IPL? If Mahela is really worried about revenue sharing, he should start by donating 75% of his IPL earnings to SL cricket. then he can wax poetic all he wants.

  • Mani on August 7, 2008, 16:50 GMT

    If I understand this correctly, BCCI takes the initiative invests tons of money, convinces other business men to invest their money and runs a successful league. Now they have to share the revenue with very self righteous beggar/board who shows up with the begging bowl? What is this, Soviet Union?

    Regarding the other boards providing players, It between them and their players. the layers are handsomely compensated and let them share with their home boards. Perhaps Mahela should start by setting good example and donate 75% of his IPL earnings to SLC! It funny how every other person is happy to spout how other persons money should be shared equally shared.

    Regarding proliferation of other leagues, let them. Fact of the matter is only two countries have have the resources (personnel, revenue, lack of county baggage) to pull it off. Ind and Aus. The rest of the leagues will die a quick death even if they get started.

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