Matches (16)
IND v ENG (1)
BPL 2024 (2)
Ranji Trophy (4)
CWC Play-off (3)
WI 4-Day (4)
PSL 2024 (1)
WPL (1)
The Briefing

Is IPL money taking over world cricket? You can bet on it

And how did the BCB punish Shakib for his latest indiscretion?

Cash me if you can: the IPL, coming soon to every country near you  •  BCCI

Cash me if you can: the IPL, coming soon to every country near you  •  BCCI

As the great Gideon Haigh once so thoughtfully asked: "Does cricket make money to exist? Or does it exist to make fat stacks on stacks on stacks?"
Money is all people are after these days. Eurgh. In cricket, cash is squeezing the life out of the Test schedule, putting serious power in the hands of sponsors and franchise owners, adding obscene inches to the biceps of lower-order hitters, all while corruption constantly threatens to bring the whole thing down. We would call money the Root of all evil, but the man is too wholesome. It is more like the Salman Butt of all evil.
The relentless IPL-ification of the South Africa T20 league
Like jet-setting one-percenters who have love children in various parts of the world, IPL franchise owners have bought up teams in South Africa's T20 league. Last month they set about completely IPL-ifying the tournament. There's going to be an IPL-style auction, and the now-standard IPL-style rules where four members of the XI can be foreign players. Come schedule time, it seems likely the match times will try to serve the India market as much as possible.
This in a country where human-rights heroes had to fight for the rights of Indians not so long ago. Now, cricket teams full of South Africans will take "strategic time-outs" so that Indian companies that may themselves be responsible for pollution can advertise air purifiers to Indian consumers.
Forgive me if I take a minute to weep about the beauty of it all. But is this not exactly the South African future Gandhi must have dreamed of?
Surrogates supreme
If you had to serve a one-year ACU-imposed ban for failing to report corrupt approaches, perhaps you would keep your distance from potential gambling companies for a while. But sadly, you are a boring, visionless idiot. You are not Shakib Al Hasan. Last month he had to be told by the BCB to end his association with a company called Betwinner News.
Now, in the interest of not being sued, we must mention that Betwinner News claim they don't have "any relation to any kind of betting or gambling activities". But in the interest of us not being stupid, we must also point out this company name is an amalgam of the words "bet" and "winner".
So what strong punishments did the BCB mete out, given Shakib's chequered history? They made him captain, obviously.
Why are cricketers retiring earlier?
More and more cricketers are making the choice to step away from internationals, or to walk out of their national contracts. The international schedule is too gruelling, they say. There's too much going on, a lot of pressure being applied, not enough time to recover. It makes total sense. Players get to a certain age and realise that while they have spent so much time away on national duty, they've neglected the loved ones most dearest to their hearts - the franchise owners that pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars for a fraction of the work.
The naagin
Cricket has some dumb rivalries, but this is truly stupid. If you want to read up on the history (and you shouldn't), you can read this preview. The naagin probably should have been retired after the 2018 Nidahas trophy, but in Sri Lanka's knockout against Bangladesh at the Asia Cup it made an appearance again, with both the teams and spectators in the stands busting it out. Hold on to your brain cells. This may be the flavour of Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh matches for years to come.
Next month on The Briefing:
- Shakib appointed Bangladesh's chief anti-corruption officer.
- Freshly retired international cricketer seen playing heartwarming game of catch in a park with Nita Ambani.
- New SA20 league in major dilemma about whether to have exclusively white cheerleaders at matches. "But the IPL did it for years!"

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf