IPL deserves an exclusive window
Rajasthan Royals bowler Shane Warne appeals unsuccessfully for a wicket during an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors in Jaipur, India, Sunday, May 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
One of the briefs of the International Cricket Council, the sports’ governing body, is to “position itself and be empowered to promote, develop, and act in the best interests of the international game as a whole”.
We all know that’s what it’s supposed to so, but rarely does.
The perfect case in point is the highly-successful Indian Premier League – a cash cow of massive proportions.
Whether cricket fans worldwide like or dislike the Twenty20 format, it’s here to stay, with the IPL the premier tournament.
But it needs a window on the international calendar that is international cricket free. The tournament deserves that standing.
It also deserves to have the very best cricketers in the world available for the entire seven-week schedule.
And the majority want to play, not like the six Australians, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, David Warner, Ben Hilfenhaus, and Ryan Harris, who had to play in the Caribbean until last night where they wrapped up the series 2-nil.
They travel to India later today.
On the other side of the coin, the Windies were without the dynamic Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, and Marlon Samuels, who chose to play IPL rather than for the Frank Worrell Trophy.
That said, India runs international cricket by generating 75% of the ICC’s income, and its chairman is Indian Sharad Pawar.
He can always count on voting support from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the West Indies which begs the question why hasn’t there been an exclusive IPL window, nor even talked about it?
Even stranger, Pawar hasn’t made a move that would shore up the IPL forever in his own country.
Yet the ICC has already decided the IPL will be allowed to increase their teams from the current nine to 14 by 2014. That decision will only choke the IPL even further without an exclusive window.
The other plus for an IPL window? Those internationals who chose to miss the IPL, or miss out on selection, will be able to spend nearly two months at home.
And with the international calendar so full with Tests, 50-overs, and Twenty20s those cricketers would relish such a long break which would allow niggly injuries to heal, and prolong careers.
There isn’t a negative in an IPL window.