Cricket Australia launches its own IPL-style league

October 29th, 2010 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Oct 29 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) Friday approved an eight-team Twenty20 league on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

CA’s chief executive officer James Sutherland said the board has approved a new Big Bash League to be launched in the 2011-12 season.

“It will be an eight-team competition, six of which will be coming out of the cities that our current state teams play in. They will be city-based teams, not state-based teams and that will in turn be a real change in format. The two additional teams and the venues at which those two teams play will be decided in due course as we work through the process,” said Sutherland.

“The competition will be owned, controlled and managed by Cricket Australia and everyone in Australian cricket is excited about this new Big Bash League; we see it as a fantastic opportunity for the game to grow off the back of the incredible popularity of Twenty20 cricket and to bring new fans to the game of cricket,” he said.

Sutherland said the Board has also considered the position of private investment into these teams and taken a view that the board is amenable to that situation.

“It will, over the coming months, consider the terms under which that private investment may take place but the Board is certainly open to that. At the moment our plans are for the competition to be played through the prime competition summer period in December and January. There are various models that we have talked about that could see an expansion of that competition over a longer period but in the short-term it will be played over a five to six-week period through December, January and perhaps creeping into February in some years,” he said.

“Twenty20 cricket should compliment and not compromise international cricket and that’s really the balance that the Board needs to strike in working through fixturing issues. There’s certainly no consideration at this stage for any exclusive windows for the Big Bash League.”

Sutherland said that each team plays seven or eight matches and as the competition grows, not only more matches but more teams will join the competition.

“Perhaps, in three, four or five years’ time expanding from an eight-team competition to a 10-team competition. There are various models (for private ownership) on the table in terms of how that might work but the considerations and detail that needs to be worked through is quite considerable and complex in order to make sure it works for everyone,” he said.

Sutherland said that there will be opportunities (from private investors) on the table and they are opportunities that will be explored over the coming weeks once the details have been worked through.

“I think it’s interesting to see the sort of values one might place on these teams based on the investor interest; certainly compared to other sporting franchises or teams around this country it puts these Big Bash teams at an all new level and as high a value as any sporting team in the country,” he said.

Sutherland also said that the league will not be a competitor of the IPL (in terms of player earnings) and certainly the revenues that the Cricket Australia Big Bash League can generate.

“In a small market such as Australia it’s not going to be the same as the Indian Premier league. But at the same time this league is on the international stage and the teams that play-off in the finals will qualify for the Champions League,” he said.

On participation of international players, Sutherland said: “It’s another factor of the Big Bash League that it is already an international competition in the qualification for the Champions League, but having international players play in it - mindful of the fact that international players have international playing commitments for their country - there will hopeful be opportunities for international players to play in the league.”

Sutherland also said that the tradition Boxing Day Test is safe from Twenty20 cricket.

“The Boxing Day Test is safe. From an international programming point of view, our priority rests with international cricket but all of the research we have done very strongly indicates that the enjoyment that people get from the game of cricket can be spread over the three formats of the game or discretely held with one format of the game,” he said.

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