Coming soon is cricket’s equivalent of Manchester United or a Roman Abramovich owned-Chelsea. You could see a Tendulkar or a Ponting bought or sold or transferred. There will be buyouts and salary caps — also cheerleaders — in a mega-marriage of cricket and entertainment.
For the past eight months, the Indian cricket board (with Cricket Australia and marketing giant IMG) has been secretly working on a two-tier world club championship in Twenty20 cricket that has borrowed elements from Major League Soccer, the Premiership, the (baseball) World Series, even the Champions League, to come up with a concept that is likely to revolutionise cricket.
<b1>There will be a domestic club league in at least four countries (India, Australia, England and South Africa), where there are enough corporates who can buy a team franchise from their national cricket association.
In the first year — the season should begin April 2008 for India and run four weeks — the BCCI is looking at having eight to 12 teams. It might be different elsewhere. Like in soccer, the top two teams from each country will take part in a league of champions. The domestic league may be called Premier Cricket League and the international event, Champions Cricket League.
There could be more domestic leagues but that depends on whether countries like Pakistan or West Indies can afford privately owned clubs. Otherwise, players from these countries can play in the leagues of other countries.
Sources say IMG would make a final presentation to a group of all major cricket boards in Singapore next week. A special general body meeting of the BCCI will then approve the concept for India.