Give Indian Cricket League its due

I had written a while back on Economics of Indian Premier league. I have also argued in a Mint articlehow BCCI has ensured maximum revenues without a ball being played. However, I have not written on one of the main reason why IPL was started.

It was basically because Indian Cricket League was started by Subhash Chandra, Essel (Zee TV) group chief.  Subhash Chandra created a revolution in Indian cable TV industry and tried to do the same for Cricket as well.

ICL was criticised from day one for being a rebel league and chided for being interested only in making money from Cricket. IPL is not a rebel league (as it has got endorsements from other boards) but we can argue about it being a big money spinner (read this Shahrukh Khan interview)

BCCI naturally didn’t like the fact that without consulting it, Zee launched ICL.  It led to a huge controversy with respective country boards banning their players from playing for their country. The Indian state-level players were banned from playing for their respective teams. Various cricket grounds which are run by respective state cricket associations were not allowed to give their grounds for exhibiting ICL matches. Further, BCCI barred a senior cricketer like Kapil Dev from getting pensions.

I missed the first edition of ICL (in 2007) but have been watching the second edition. I find nothing they are doing which can be called rebellion etc. They are playing pure cricket and some matches have been really very good.

  • It has also got players from all countries and some great ones as well (Brian Lara (who is injured this time), Damien Martyn, Inzamam ul Haq, Chris Cairns etc). With such super players around, it helps build the Indian team in future as youngsters get to to learn a lot.
  • It is also based on the Twenty-20 format and is pretty exciting. The teams are also similar.

    ICL IPL
    Chandigarh Lions Mohali
    Chennai Superstars Chennai Superkings
    Delhi Giants Delhi Daredevils
    Hyderabad Heroes Hyderabad
    Kolkata Tigers Kolkata Knight Riders
    Mumbai Champs Mumbai Indians
    Lahore Badshahs Bangalore Royal Challengers
    Ahmedabad Rockets Jaipur Royals
  • What it is also doing (which IPL is also doing but is at best limited) is it has given chance to some young Indian talent. These players have been playing Ranji Trophy and other domestic matches in the hope of playing for India someday. But, being a large country and inadequate coverage (it is improving now) of India’s domestic cricket season they more often than not miss out.
  • Plus, ICL gives all these players a chance to earn a decent living. We often get the news that the cricket boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies etc are not doing well and need financial support. And they often ask BCCi for help. So, how do you expect them to pay the players? So, ICL helps them get a decent iving which isn’t a bad thing at all. As incentives are too high so players have not minded defecting to ICL instead. This has led to a concern for a few teams like New Zealand not having enough players!

I don’t know why despite so many benefits the ICL has been banned. How can you stop a youngster from playing for the country if his performance is good?

Like we say in economics competition is good, so is the case here. It is a win-win situation for all.

The ICC has also so far not allowed IPL to become an official international tournament. ICC says it is a domestic tournament. Then why do the players agree to play as most complaint of overdose of cricket. It is easy to say it is the huge incentives at stake, nothing else.

All ICC, BCCI and other boards have to do is plan a schedule and let players decide which league they want to play for – ICL or IPL? And then like we see in Europe, let top teams from each league compete against each other to become the best team.

Indian cricket also missed a great opportunity to make India a cricket superpower (it already is one, could have made it stronger). By letting both the leagues work, India’s already powerful stature in the game would have grown further. Just like various football leagues shifted the the football power to Europe, similarly it could be the case for India. It is not very often that we see people from developed economies coming to a developing economy to earn a living. It changes the dynamics completely.

It is time authorities do a rethink on this issue and remove the ban on ICL. Let cricket thrive!!

Addendum (31/3/08):

The matches have been simply amazing, nail-biting stuff. All matches are beiung played in great spirit as well. There is one request from ICL authorities though- please do not repeat one advertisment time and time again between the breaks. They always repeat the Airtel ad which makes it very boring and irritating.

4 Responses to “Give Indian Cricket League its due”

  1. Pankaj Says:

    Last few lines sums it up. Great article too!

  2. Gambling Pharaoh Says:

    Gambling Pharaoh…

    Very interesting.. Thanks for the information….

  3. ashutosh Says:

    ipl was great for cricket. it is said that cricket will take over football in popularity and money involved in ten years . here is a website http://www.hitandruncricket.com which gives a novel way to play cricket in more thrilling way. even tests.

  4. Why Khel Ratna only for Dhoni? « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] to play English County as the County team that offered them had players from rebel cricket league – Indian Cricket League. Laxman was deprived of some good retirement money as he can play cricket for only a couple for […]

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