T20 Leagues | India can look beyond the baseline and decide which way the game goes

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How long before the IPL takes complete control of T20 tournaments around the world, with a large number of players contracted (and controlled by) the half-dozen franchises?

How long before the IPL takes complete control of T20 tournaments around the world, with a large number of players contracted (and controlled by) the half-dozen franchises?

The IPL is preparing to conquer the world. South Africa called off a one-day series against Australia to focus on kicking off their domestic T20 tournament. All six franchises were purchased by IPL team owners. They already own three Caribbean Premier League teams, as well as three teams in the UAE’s upcoming T20 league. At least two IPL franchises are part of next year’s T20 league in the United States.

Is this a watershed moment for the sport? How long before the IPL takes over completely, with a large number of players under contract (and controlled by) the half-dozen franchises? Historically, ‘the death of cricket as we know it’ has been a recurring theme, but will it come true now? This may be an extreme position, but is international cricket at a crossroads?

Get away from the rest

The International Cricket Council’s Future Tours program doesn’t suggest this – until you examine it closely and realize that in a much more subtle way than a few years ago, India, England and Australia move away from the rest.

India will play one of the other two in 20 Tests out of the 38 scheduled for the 2023-2027 period. These are the most lucrative series in world cricket, and television is content with them more than any other (with the exception of an Indo-Pakistani series which depends on the political winds). The less powerful teams play most of their Tests between themselves, making two divisions without making it official.

And just to be clear, there will be an official window for the IPL during which all international cricket will be suspended. By 2027, there will be 94 matches in the IPL.

Support test cricket

India have been at the helm of world cricket for a few years now, and on the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Especially since they have been great supporters of the five-day Test and the five-game Test series and possess the bench strength to play red-ball and white-ball cricket simultaneously in different countries.

But most other countries have neither so many players to choose from nor enough public interest to make it worthwhile. Often cricket is not the #1 sport.

New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa are rugby nations, the West Indies and Zimbabwe struggle to attract youngsters to the game while Afghanistan have a lot of catching up to do, and despite their promotion to the highest levels, he is hardly treated on an equal footing with others.

There remains Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the game remains a passion. But national teams lack the glamor and record of their neighbours. Outside their own borders, they don’t have the kind of support that an Indian team has. India alone has the power to look beyond the bottom line.

Although Test cricket was successful with only three teams (England, Australia, South Africa) for the first fifty years of its existence, the world has changed too much and the alternatives have become too numerous since the period 1877-1928 for this to matter. practice now. . The Ashes, Border-Gavaskar Trophy and Pataudi Trophy, however competitive or widely followed, cannot on their own sustain test match cricket.

The future of ODIs

The call to reduce, or even abolish the one-day international altogether, has become increasingly loud. Logically, if one of the three formats has to be sacrificed, it will have to be ODI. But the 50+ World Cup remains popular. Can we have only one World Cup without any other international? The ICC doesn’t think so and has even resurrected the Tri-Nations tournament.

Top players – Ben Stokes being a recent example – drop out of one or more of the formats to focus on the rest. Stokes left ODI to focus on testing. Compatriot Moeen Ali and Sri Lankan Dhanushka Gunatilake, among others, traveled in the opposite direction, giving up the red ball game to focus on the white.

So this is the brave new world of cricket. India, already more powerful than the ICC, can, theoretically, bring down the whole edifice on a whim if it wants to. The power they wield is extraordinary and a bit frightening.

They decide whether or not their players can play in the other domestic leagues or even The Hundred in England. No one dares to displease India, whose position in the game is a tribute both to its long-term planning (even through numerous court cases) and recognition of the sheer number of eyeballs on TV. which translate into billions of dollars.

But is India’s huge success discouraging other nations rather than stimulating their interest in the five-day game? When the backline is served by T20 cricket – administrators can argue they are just giving the public what they want – something is bound to give.

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