The first outline of the plan for another anti-establishment Twenty20 league, backed by the Indian Essel Group, has been revealed by the organisation's head of finance and strategy Himanshu Mody. The intention is for the tournament to be a T20 competition involving up to 12 teams, though no timeframe had been set for it to take place, and Mody said he did not see players or venues being a problem.
The Essel Group was also the organisation that began the rebel ICL in 2007, a T20 league that preceded the IPL but ended in less than two years after its players were banned from mainstream cricket by the cricket boards of various countries under instruction from the BCCI and ICC.
Mody said the ICL experience had left them wiser. "The format for what we are building will be the T20 format, home and away games, across 10-12 cities," Mody told Times of India. "We are not looking at a short time frame. It could be a year away or even a little more. We know the timing is right but we are equally aware of the pitfalls where BCCI can hit us and are much wiser today.
"Besides the right time … the two main ingredients are players and grounds," Mody said. "We had four grounds in India during ICL and players. We got players even from Pakistan, so I do not see both as a problem at all. On the grounds front, during ICL, we fell short with just four grounds in four cities. Also, we learned we needed eight to 10 teams. So, this time round, we will have to ensure we have more grounds."
The ICC responded to reports of such a venture by setting up a committee comprising its three top officials - chairman N Srinivasan, ECB's Giles Clarke and CA's Wally Edwards - to conduct an inquiry and present a report.
There had also been unsubstantiated reports of offers of $50 million to David Warner and Michael Clarke to join the rebel league but Edwards had said CA was confident that their players were secure. An NZC official had also said he had not heard of any approaches being made to New Zealand players or venues.