CSA rallies for Indian Premier League
Cricket South Africa has rallied strongly behind its Indian counterpart BCCI and asked the International Cricket Council for a six-week window in April-May to accommodate the Indian Premier League that opened in Bangalore two days ago.
"I believe, however, that it is vital that the ICC creates a six-week window in the international programme each year for the IPL tournament so that it does not encroach on any international tours," Gerald Majola, CEO of CSA, said in a media release.
"In this way, there can be no conflict between national playing contracts and those of the tournament. An ideal time would be the last two weeks in April and for the month of May," he declared after praising the launch of the IPL at Bangalore as a "very exciting new jewel in cricket's crown".
Majola's views are radically different to those expressed recently in Mumbai by outgoing ICC CEO, Malcolm Speed, who feels there's no hurry to rush things up and carve out a window in the Future Tours Programme of the ICC to slot in the IPL.
"The players know that the only reason they are approached for the Twenty20 is because they are the stars for their country. They have become good players because they have been brought up in the system within their country. IPL hasn't started yet. Before we go carving windows in the structure that is basis of the finances of all countries including the BCCI, let's see how good it is. There is no rush to do this," he emphasised.
Instead the ICC CEO said the biggest challenge facing the game's administrators right now was how to integrate the T20 format with Tests and ODIs to ensure that none had to face disinterest of the fans.
"I said to the ICC board in the very long paper I wrote in March this year that this current generation of cricket administrators will be judged not by how much money the game makes out of T20 cricket, it will be judged by how well we integrate T20 into the other forms of the game. We regard it as a challenge, not a problem," Speed had told reporters here.
Significantly, Australia-born Speed's appointed successor South African Haroon Lorgat has already pitched in for an annual window in the FTP for the IPL ahead of taking over the reins of ICC in June.
"The IPL is something that is exciting and can be used to enhance and grow the game around the globe. Cricket is unique in that we have three formats now, and that can be used to attract new fans. If we need to revisit the FTP, we will do that," Lorgat had told the Australian media.
Almost all the current international cricketers, including those from England who are not taking part in the current edition because of its clash with their domestic cricket season, have come out strongly in support of a window being carved out in the FTP for the IPL annually.
But there has been opposition from the cricket establishment of some countries, significantly England, for the annual window, which clashed with domestic cricket in their countries.