Cricket Australia mulling over its own IPL

May 16th, 2008 - 4:42 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 16 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) is contemplating its own version of Indian Premier League (IPL) within two years after the inaugural Twenty20 tournament has become a mega-hit in the country. While it is unlikely to be on the same scale as the $2 billion IPL, senior CA officials believe some facets of the IPL could be incorporated, according to a media report in Herald Sun.

Teams from major Australian cities and country areas, and one from New Zealand could be part of the tournament that would be held over three to four weeks.

It could be staged during an Australian home summer when local Test stars are available, and would not clash with the IPL.

What are icon players in IPL will be called “untouchables” in the Australian league. For instance, Brad Hodge and Cameron White would be the untouchables for the Victorian Bushrangers, Michael Clarke and Brett Lee for New South Wales, and Mitchell Johnson and Matthew Hayden for Queensland, the report said.

Whether teams remain under state jurisdiction or become privately run franchises, like what has happened in the IPL, is still a point of debate in the idea floated for the league.

CA spokesman Peter Young confirmed about the developments under way.

“In reality we have taken a blank sheet of paper and said, ‘what might a domestic Twenty20 competition look like?” Young said.

“Should it be just one side from each state? Should we look at overseas models, including the IPL model where you have a city base and more than one team from certain states? Should it involve New Zealand or not? We are thinking that through,” he said.

Australia’s domestic Twenty20 tournament, the KFC Big Bash, has been a huge success but needs to be overhauled if it is to attract serious international television revenue.

The IPL has a 10-year, $1 billion deal with Sony Television.

“I think you will notice some changes in two years’ time,” a CA source said.

This revelation follows a call last month from Australian players’ union boss Paul Marsh for CA to look into hosting its own international Twenty20 tournament.

“It could be like soccer. The Indian league will be the Indian Premier League, and then you have the Australian league as the second league, or the English league or whatever it may be,” Marsh said.

“Other ideas floated include a salary cap - perhaps between $10-$15 million a team and a player draft which could feature international talent,” the report said.

CA understands that they cannot compete with the financial muscle of Indian business and the IPL, which has seen most IPL matches played before sell-out crowds.

But some CA officials believe “good” money can still be made from a local tournament. Australia has been left behind on the Twenty20 front, with even the England and Wales Cricket Board taking a proactive stance with Texan-billionaire Allen Stanford, who wants to bankroll a tournament in England.

CA and most governing boards around the cricketing world are frustrated they do not receive a cent from the IPL, despite providing some of the tournament’s major drawcards.

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