While cricket experts are worried that the IPL allowing a fresh off-season overseas playing window to teams will further add to the strain on international fixtures, the franchises themselves aren't too excited by the way in which it has been planned.
There is growing discontent among teams over the decision allowing IPL teams to play three exhibition fixtures between June and August in the game's Associate nations.
The teams feel the IPL authorities have taken a unilateral decision and it is riddled with too many clauses for the franchises to take it seriously. Some team officials feel it also doesn't make economic sense.
“To begin with, the decision to play in associate countries is the biggest problem. Almost all the teams wanted to play these exhibition games in regular Test-playing nations. That makes sense. But in associate countries, there can be just no quality cricket,” a top team official told HT on condition of anonymity.
Ideally, teams should be excited to play in countries like Canada and the USA due to a huge Indian presence. But the official says, “We would have preferred playing domestic teams in full-member nations as such matches would have attracted a lot of people.”
When asked, Deccan Chargers owner Venkatram Reddy said, “We are bound by IPL rules. We still have to figure out how to go about doing this.”
The IPL bosses have said the decision, announced after the IPL V season, is to promote cricket in associate nations.
But the big question is who will be interested in buying the TV rights for games in such regions.
“For the franchises and IPL, it is not just about developing cricket. It is also about brand and money.
“Who will buy TV rights to show an Afghan or an Irish club play an IPL team? We had even mooted the idea of allowing two IPL teams to play in associate nations,” said a team official.
Interestingly, there is a healthy cricket following in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. But the heat in Middle East and the rainy season in Southeast Asia and a lack of stars in the opposition ranks is discouraging franchises from travelling to these venues.
Unless these teething issues are sorted out, IPL’s new window may be shut before it opens.