Undaunted by IPL, ICL to stage its next edition next month

February 21st, 2008 - 7:17 pm ICT by admin  

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Refusing to be overawed or threatened by the money-splurging Indian Premier League (IPL), the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) said Thursday it will stage an extravaganza in Delhi, Chandigarh and Hyderabad next month, possibly adding more teams. Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president of Essel Group, the promoters of ICL, said the company would this week announce the exact dates of the next Twenty20 jamboree involving stars like Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul Haq.

“The IPL will in no way threaten ICL because there is hardly anything common between the two except that both play cricket. Our vision, format, models and objectives are different from them,” Kaul told IANS.

“There will be four international [foreign] players per team, as was the case in the first edition, but this time we may have more teams than the six in the previous tournament. The details will be out by this weekend, but there will be no change in the tournament format,” he said.

Business magnate Subhash Chandra launched ICL after Zee lost the race for money spinning five-year cricket board television rights which went to Nimbus. Then, last May, Zee pulled out of its five-year contract for overseas television rights given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) following a new government law stipulating mandatory sharing of telecast of important matches with Doordarshan.

Last September the BCCI launched the lucrative IPL, carrying $3 million prize money and approved by the International Cricket Council and the other nine Test-playing countries. After the 44-day IPL tournament, beginning April 18, the BCCI will also organise a Champions Twenty20 tournament carrying $5 million and involving teams from India Australia, England, Pakistan and South Africa. The dates and venues are yet to be announced.

Last month, the BCCI auctioned the eight IPL franchises for a cumulative $718 million, with some of the best known Bollywood stars and business tycoons buying Mumbai (Mukesh Ambani, for $111.9 mn), Bangalore (Vijay Mallya, $106 mn), Kolkata (Shah Rukh Khan, $75.09 mn), Mohali (Preity Zinta, $76 mn), Jaipur (Emerging Media, $67 mn), Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle, $107.01 mn), Chennai (India Cements, $91 mn) and Delhi (GMR Group, $84 million).

The eight franchise owners spent $36.6 million on buying 75 players at the auction in Mumbai Wednesday.

Zee, on the other hand, had signed the players for an undisclosed amount, but there was no auction.

Kaul said that the idea of launching was not to spend big money, though when the ICL was launched, the IPL concept was still under wraps.

“This is definitely their [IPL's] moment of glory. But our objective is to give an opportunity to the unknown domestic Indian cricketer and help raise the standard of the international game through ICL. The first tournament in Panchkula in December was at par with international standards, in terms of television coverage etc.,” he said.

“The BCCI is not thinking about its domestic players. How come some of their own Ranji players are playing with torn pads and bats? IPL is a high profile tournament and it is only making Sachin Tendulkars and Sourav Gangulys of the world only richer,” he lamented.

Tendulkar and Ganguly were given the status of ‘icons’ and were not auctioned like others. Instead, they will receive 15 percent more money then the most expensive player in their teams.

By this calculation, Tendulkar assured income of $1.1 million while Ganguly will get $1 million.

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