USA news May 3, 2009

ICC keen to install IPL model in USA


Is this a viable proposition? Have your say

The ICC has advised cricket officials in America to install an IPL model to capitalise on the Twenty20 boom and generate funds for the game's grassroot development in the USA, IS Bindra, the ICC's principal advisor, said. The ICC told United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) to set up such a league "as fast as they can" during a meeting in January that was attended by Bindra and Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive.

"We suggested during that meeting that they organise a Twenty20 league based on the successful IPL model," Bindra told Cricinfo. "Like IPL, they should look at private ownership for teams, each of which can have a mix of foreign and local players. Initially, to get the league going, they can have more foreign players in a playing XI, more than the four allowed in an IPL team. Then, as the league picks up interest, they can look at increasing the local element."

Bindra, who has been specifically tasked by the ICC to develop cricket in the US, said he would pursue the idea with USACA officials during a meeting in Dubai on May 17 and 18. "What we are looking at is a top class event that will be fully backed by the ICC and will have some top international players," he said. "As we see it, many international players, except those from England, are usually free from May to September. This space could be utilised."

When asked about the American Premier League (APL), an unofficial private venture which unveiled its plans in March, Bindra said a successful official model was always the best response. "I feel that regulation is not the only way to curb unapproved ventures. You need to have a successful alternative, too, like how the BCCI developed its Premier League as a viable model (to the ICL)." The APL is being organised by Jay Mir, a businessman who signed up Sir Richard Hadlee as consultant and former players like Inzamam-ul-Haq and Graeme Hick for a six-team league to be staged in October in New York City.

Bindra said that a "large market" for cricket exists in the US - with its immigrant Indian, Pakistani and West Indian population - that has not been fully utilised. "There have been some ad-hoc attempts to organise some leagues and events in the US, but none of them happened on an official platform and were poorly planned efforts," he said. "Now, we have a Twenty20 boom worldwide and we need to capitalise on that. Twenty20 is the nearest cricket can come to baseball in terms of time, excitement and even glamour. It's the closest cricket can come to having an American flavour and we have to move in now."

Official cricket in the US has largely been a stop-start affair with the local governing body rendered ineffective since the early 1990s due to large-scale infighting. The USACA was twice suspended by the ICC for its dysfunctional administration and readmitted into the official fold only last year after elections were held.

Bindra said that the USACA, which is headed by Gladstone Dainty, a businessman, is now on the track to stability, especially with the recent appointment of Don Lockerbie, COO and venue development director of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, as its chief executive. "The time is right now to plan the big step forward," Bindra said.

Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • GibbonsCricket on May 10, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    As Director of the only American High School Cricket program outside of New York City, I can tell you that cricket has great potential in the U.S. This team was created by students who, before last year, had never seen cricket played. A few students had the chance to play cricket once, and the sport went viral from there. Now we teach it as part of our P.E. classes, and our team is about to begin its first season in a new youth league in the Baltimore/Washington area. This is the key: we must have the patience to develop cricket at the youth level first. The idea of going forward now with a manufactured professional league stocked by players unknown to Americans is silly. The market for such a product is incredibly thin and scattered, making support for regional franchises highly unlikely and sponsorship prospects weak. The end will be predictable: the poorly supported franchises will fold and then "cricket experts" will declare this to be proof that America will not support cricket.

  • Ganesh on May 9, 2009, 22:06 GMT

    Cricket never will be a success in USA. Imagine a global sport like football is less successful, this after USA hosting a World cup and the USA team is among the top twenty teams of the World. The sports market is run by TV channels in the US and no network would be willing to give up their prime time baseball/football/basketball for a game that is a relative unknown.

    Most americans cannot think cricket beyond" it's like baseball except that they use a flat bat and the ball pitches before it reaches the batter". ICC can instead pump in the dollars to improve cricket in countries like West Indies, New Zealand etc. where the game is losing it's popularity and can help revive the fortunes of those teams. We dont want China and America to help us with cricket.

  • accricketer94 on May 7, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    I wish a try-out based system would be accepted as local talent could be obtained as well as international stars. In my town, Edison, all I have to do is go to the park to play cricket with my friends and others that I do have never met before. If cricket comes to New York, I would want to try out for a team

  • Muqs on May 5, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    Ya it will great to see an IPL type T20 league being installed by USACA, like IPL they should try to bring in one or two celebrity figure who can promote the league and the game to the masses. The possible hollywood celebrity who must be approached to buy a franchise is Russel Crowe, since he has some connection with the game and he is quite a famous hollywood star so it will good. Other person to whom one franchise can be sold is Vince Mcmahon of wwe.Perhaps Donald Trump owning a franchise will be great for the league as well. So selling the franchises to popular and glamorous personalities will be ensure great success. And creating some american and canadian stars will be much better than playing 8 or 9 internationally famed players.

  • Ozcricketwriter on May 4, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Without question, Americans would prefer Twenty/20 to 50 over or test cricket. This is because most American sports are really short. Basketball, American football and even baseball are really short games. Indeed, many Americans complain that baseball lasts for too long - sometimes over 2 hours! Shock! Horror! As such, even Twenty/20 cricket, which can last for 2 1/2 hours, might be too long. Furthermore, wasn't there a report recently saying that there probably wasn't enough room for too many IPL-style competitions around the world? I mean, if we had them, then we wouldn't have much international cricket. Or is that the point? In soccer, the focus is more on domestic than international, and perhaps that is the future of cricket too. It sure is a tough one, but it might be worth a gamble. A big gamble though. Maybe better to start off small and see how it goes.

  • SaudAlvi on May 4, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    I think APL would be great, isn't the idea now that TV makes most money and not the ground ticket sales? we have enough people here to fill up stadiums, in NJ I play a soft ball leauge with 53 teams (only in this leauge and there are other leauges) and cricket ball leage in NY ... so we have cricket lovers .. south asians , westindians , british , australians .. oh comeon .. we have everyone from every cricket playing nation. Just put he match on un-paid tv and APL will rock !

  • Zaheerahmed on May 4, 2009, 3:51 GMT

    It would be a tremendous boost to cricket if the game gains popularity in the land of dreams. But Mr. Bindra should ensure that they should not foget to have the services of ICC Anti Corruption Unit as Lalit Modi conveniently did in IPL. I dont think cricket is still devoid of match fixing or black money (in case of IPL).

  • TwitterJitter on May 4, 2009, 3:10 GMT

    I cannot answer if it is a value proposition because we have not seen the plan. At this point it is just an idea. The questions are 1. What are the sources of revenue and how much? 2. What are the costs involved in conducting such a tournament (stadium lease, player contracts, team travel and stay, other overhead)? 3. Who is going to cover the gap between revenues and costs (costs will exceed revenue significantly unless they plan on televising and selling it to Indian market again as usual)? 4. How much investment are they planning on making and over what period? How are they planning on appealing to non-immigrant Americans if at all they are trying? I am pessimistic of their appeal beyond the South Asian and West Indian community. It could end up being a low-budget venture designed to saturate this target market so that non-official ventures can be nipped in the bud. It needs a huge (100+ million) investment each year for at least a decade for cricket to break into US market

  • cbesud2009 on May 4, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    If the ICC keeps on promoting 20/20 leagues , then cricket will become like football. In football, the league based professional club football is what the players are involved in the majority of the time. They play International football for their countries occassionally and when the WORLD CUP comes along. Even with the IPL , there are conflicts with players IPL commitments and their commitments to their country. If they keep promoting these lucrative 20/20 leagues, country based test and ODI cricket will eventually be killed

  • ColdRain on May 4, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    one word! ESPN

    get them involved and it'll quick start the cricket in usa. most of the people think it'll fail, i really doubt at least for initial years. Americans do love novelty but whether if thats a same case with sports im not quite sure. BTW Americans have a fantasy league for curling in olympics. Figure that.

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