Lalit Modi dismisses talk of Twenty20 'overkill'
Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi dismissed talk that the growth of such tournaments was leading to an "overkill" of Twenty20 cricket.Updated: Jun 02, 2009, 01:32 IST
Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi dismissed on Monday talk that the growth of such tournaments was leading to an "overkill" of Twenty20 cricket.
Modi, speaking at a hotel near Lord's - where India were playing New Zealand in a warm-up match for the International Cricket Council World Twenty20 - said the recent IPL in South Africa had drawn new audiences into the game.
"We've just finished a study in South Africa that showed 70 percent of the people who watched the IPL this year had never watched any form of cricket before," Modi told reporters.
"That's an astonishing figure. For a tournament like the IPL to be able to garner new audiences is critical for the growth of cricket."
Champions of Twenty20 say it will ultimately bolster attendances for five-day Test cricket although anecdotal evidence suggests there had not yet been a great 'crossover' in most of the sport's major nations.
Meanwhile West Indies captain Chris Gayle's recent comments to the effect that he'd rather play IPL than Test cricket have alarmed traditionalists.
But Modi, promoting a Twenty20 charity match between Middlesex and Shane Warne's IPL Rajasthan Royals on July 6 at Lord's, insisted: "If we are able to get people to Twenty20 we are only enlarging the pie: you will see them go and watch one-day and Test cricket."
This year's IPL was shifted to South Africa at short notice after security concerns forced organisers to take it away from India.
England was another possible destination and Modi refused to rule out the possibilty of IPL games being played there at some future date.
However, next season will see two domestic Twenty20 tournaments taking place in England.
"Currently we haven't examined the UK yet," Modi said. "We just had a tremendous success in our first season outside of India.
"This actually now opens a whole new area for us and we are now going to be examining games overseas. Where and when they will be played is still a matter to be debated and studied.
"The cricketing calendar in England is full so that would have to be taken into account."
Modi stressed he'd never asked for the IPL or the yet to be played Champions League, a tournament that will feature leading domestic Twenty20 sides, to be slotted into the ICC's Future Tours Programme which regulates international cricket matches.
"There was a miscommunication as far as I'm concerned," he said.
"We had worked with the ICC to slot the Champions League this year and all Test-playing nations were part of that solution in terms of creating a 'window'.
"We have never propagated that we should be part of the FTP for the IPL or the Champions League because I think there is a natural 'window' for these two events. We never asked for one and we are never going to ask for one."