More leagues could squeeze bilateral series: ICC Chairman
Will back Ganguly if ICC board thinks he is right candidate says Barclay on future
The expanded Indian Premier League (IPL) season ends on Sunday and despite a dip in viewership numbers BCCI is expecting bumper returns from the media rights sale in two weeks. That could put ICC, whose chairman Greg Barclay is here to meet prospective rights holders for ICC’s next rights cycle (2024-31), in a spot as its most powerful member board is bargaining for a longer IPL window in an already congested calendar.
“I am not comfortable with any congestion in the calendar,” said Barclay in an interview when asked about the IPL-sized problem. “But life is not perfect. The thing I am pleased about is that there is so much interest for cricket. It’s a healthy problem to have. Finding a resolution won’t be easy because there is going to be a compromise and some parties are going to miss out to an extent. It’s not hard to work out that the squeeze is going to be on the smaller full members and upcoming associate members who may miss the opportunity to get to leverage from their own arrangements.”
IPL is not the only league and BCCI not the only board seeking more dates. Cricket South Africa has announced a new T20 competition and Emirates Cricket Board is coming up with one of its own next year. “It’s not something that the ICC can dictate,” said Barclay. “We have three variables that we are looking at. One is the increased ICC events with the increased number of teams. We have more leagues being introduced in the mix. The IPL has stretched out. So, the bit that gets squeezed are the bilateral arrangements.”
One sticky point for ICC in its next rights-cycle will be the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan. India’s availability will be decided by the government of the time, according to Union sports minister Anurag Thakur. “The geo-political issues are way beyond our remit,” said Barclay.
Barclay’s tenure ends in six months but the New Zealander has suggested he wouldn’t mind another term. “It is a decision for the board to make come November,” he said.
On reported possibility of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly replacing him, Barclay said: “We get along very well and if he (Ganguly) chooses and the board thinks he would be the right candidate in the next period, I would second that.”
“He hasn’t indicated to me though that he is a candidate, so who knows.”