Australian cricket: The Big Bash à la IPL raises more than a few questions

Ganguly with Shahrukh Khan and his wife Gauri ...

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The Big Bash League

If the BCCI is not quite open to having private equity from foreign investors in the IPL,that is not quite the case with the Australian version (The Big Bash League) of the IPL scheduled to begin in the 2011-12 Australian summer season.

New South Wales and Victoria have allegedly already sold shares in their state associations to two giant Indian corporations.

Brisbane-based Adani Group and Jay Mehta, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, have been named as Indian corporates with possible interest in the Big Bash league.

Gautam Adani recently bid unsuccessfully for an IPL team.

In breaking news, Cricket Australia (CA) has approved minority private ownership paving the way for Indian investors.

The Australian Cricketer’s Association had backed the entry of private overseas investment saying that it will not only bring in much need investment into the sport but also raise the profile of the sport Down Under.

Each Big Bash franchise is valued initially at $20 million each which is expected to rise to $80 million over the next few seasons.

The Australian cricket calendar is being punctured to accommodate the new entity; tests will be foregone for the period of the tournament to ensure the availability of top Australian cricketers for the duration of the tournament.

Test matches are the highest level of major cr...

The BCCI ,too, does not schedule ODIs or Tests that clash with the IPL.

Moreover, the IPL is played in what is usually the cricketing offseason in India. The April-May months are considered too hot to play Test cricket.

Since T20 games are shortened affairs and played out in the evenings, the heat and humidity factor is somewhat mitigated. But barely or rarely!

The Big Bash Format

The Aussie version of the IPL will have eight teams much like the first three seasons of the IPL.

There will be two teams each from Sydney and Melbourne  and one each from Brisbane,Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.

Teams will play each other twice in a league format.

The tournament will last five weeks; one-day games are to be replaced by the new T20 format.

Telecast rights will be sold to India and overseas networks;Nine and Fox Sports will broadcast them locally.

The tournament will begin in December 2011.

Sponsors retain the naming rights to the  teams.

 Each franchise will initially be limited to a salary cap ranging from $2 million to $2.6 million.

Stars from India , England , South Africa and and the West Indies are expected to receive lucrative offers to participate in the tournament.

With this tournament, Australian cricket is poised to take a giant leap forward much like Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket of the 1970s.

The Death Knell For ODIs

This probably sounds the death knell for one-dayers..

ODI matches are no longer seen as money-spinners.

The day may not be far off when the format is restricted to just a select few ICC trophies or relegated to the dustbin of history.

To be truthful, who has the time to sit through a day of cricket, when you can spend four hours at a T20 bash, listen to live music and ogle some cheer-leaders?

It’s about entertainment! Slam-bang cricket all the way!

The ODIs are dead! Long live T20s!

An Overdose Of Leagues and Money?

A photo of a match between Chennai SuperKings ...

The introduction of Big Bash also raises questions as to who will actually benefit from the huge packets of money floating around.

Will it be a case of the moolah chasing a disproportionate few?

Can there be a limit on the number of  leagues a player can be a part of?

The boards wouldn’t want to see their top players burn themselves out on the altar of Mammon, would they?

How are player appearances to be rationed out?

Playing in two leagues effectively becomes three leagues when you include the Champion of Champions playoffs.

Can the boards ration out player appearances without antagonising players and their agents?

Will the players protest citing restrictive trade practices?

After all, it’s about securing a future for their families. Not all cricketers enjoy huge brand endorsements unlike their Indian counterparts.

What do you think?

Quote of the day:
Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. – William Ralph Inge


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