Call them different efforts to cash in on what looks like a product with infinite potential or simply bitter rivals, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and Indian Premier League (IPL) are trendsetters. You can also call them cause and effect but John Buchanan feels these can also be looked at as parallel lines which will converge sometime in the future.
Here as part of the gala launch of the Kolkata Knight Riders, the IPL team captained by Sourav Ganguly that he will coach, Buchanan told HT this was not wishful thinking but an assumption based on history. "It was the same with the Kerry Packer series or the tours to South Africa at some point in time. If you look at history, you will find instances of things calming down in course of time."
The Australian who never played for his country but holds perhaps the most impressive CV as coach of an international team, sounded sorry for players from different countries losing national contracts for joining the blacklisted ICL. "There are a few Twenty20 tournaments around like the two here and the Stanford International (in the West Indies). It's a shame that players are ostracised for taking part in one of them."
The Australian players in the ICL are Stuart Law, Ian Harvey, Damien Martyn, Matthew Eliott, Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillepsie. The last three retired from Australian domestic cricket recently to join the ICL.
The Australian Cricketers Association president, Darren Lehmann, has also spoken against the decision to ban players.
Buchanan welcomed the idea of two or more competitions competing with each other. "Even though things may come together eventually, it's good to have competition in the meantime. It's healthy to have more than one player in a market. It's good if you have competition because it helps you get better."
The former Australian coach whose role was undermined by Shane Warne but drew respect from many more eminent players said it was up to the bosses to find the right balance between Tests, ODIs and Twenty20.
"Maybe we need to align the 50-over game with T20 to keep the synergy separate from Test cricket. The administrators must have clear vision and have to be careful about the coexistence of these three
Buchanan who returns to the city on April 12, six days before the start of the inaugural edition of the IPL, said he wasn't exactly a part of team selection.
"I was in the process of joining the team when that was being done, so I wasn't associated with it as closely as I would have liked.
“It's a new challenge to be coach of a T20 team. The basis remains the same but a lot of things change. My job will be to bring this group together."