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Indian Cricket League
Icl222.jpg
Countries India India
Pakistan Pakistan
Bangladesh Bangladesh
World
Administrator Private
Format Twenty20
First tournament 2005–06
Tournament format Round Robin, then knockout
Number of teams 9 city teams, 4 international teams
Current champion Lahore Badshahs
Most successful Lahore Badshahs (2 titles)
Qualification Twenty20 Champions League
Website Indian Cricket League
ICL 20s World Series 2008/09

The Indian Cricket League (ICL), is a private cricket league. The tournament with international players follow the Twenty20 format, while there is also a domestic 50-over tournament Matches were initially held at Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula, near Chandigarh, Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad, and at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, near New Delhi. However, since 2008 games have been played at more venues . There have been no games played since 2009.

The first edition had 6 teams, which expanded to 8 in early 2008 and added one more in the second half of the same year. Players participating in this league have been threatened with bans by the cricket boards of their respective countries as the ICL is regarded by them as an unsanctioned rebel league.[1][2] However most of the players continue to play first class cricket under the control of their respective boards.

Contents

History

Zee Telefilms, part of the Essel group promoted by Subhash Chandra, had bid for the telecast rights to the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Although the highest bid, it was unsuccessful. In 2004, Subhash Chandra again bid for telecast rights and ended up in an inconclusive court battle. He made another bid for the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy rights and once again lost. He responded by creating the ICL. “They denied us the cricket content,” said Himanshu Mody, business head of ICL and Zee’s sports, “so, we had to create our own content.” [3] Zee Telefilms announced that it would partner with major infrastructure group IL&FS to create a new, ambitious cricket organisation, the Indian Cricket League.[4] with prize money of one million US dollars in the initial edition for the winning team.

The ICL was set up with a billion dollar Indian Rupee corpus, and was to initially comprise six teams playing Twenty20 cricket, with plans to expand to sixteen teams within three years and to eventually move to 50-over matches. These plans, if realised, will make ICL the richest professional league in India. On 24 July 2007, some famous international names were announced to have signed to play in the ICL, including highest innings record-holder Brian Lara [5].

Due to the unofficial nature of the league, most of the national cricket boards warned their players against joining it and as a result most of the international players who signed for the first edition were retired internationals, such as Brian Lara, Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan, or former players with little hope of breaking back into their national team, such as Chris Read and Daryl Tuffey (who has since broken back in the New Zealand team, after breaking ties with the league). A notable exception was Imran Farhat, who chose to opt out of his Pakistan Central contract to sign with the League [6]. Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad said he was not able to understand why the PCB would not allow its players to participate in the league and why it was threatening players with a lifetime ban [7].The PCB subsequently banned players involved in the ICL from playing domestic cricket, a move that prompted some players, notably Farhat and Taufeeq Umar, to threaten court action [8].

The opposition to the league from the national cricket boards across the world and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has continued into the league's second edition. Several international ICC players who were signed to play domestic cricket for teams in the English County Championship, including Shane Bond, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Jason Gillespie were unable to fulfill their County Championship contracts because the home counties cricket boards refused to grant them the necessary documents to play in England. [9].

The first edition of the league commenced on 30 November 2007. The league consisted of six teams with the matches played at Panchkula, near Chandigarh. It concluded on 16 December 2007 with the Chennai Superstars winning the first title. The second edition was a 50 over tournament played from 7 January 2008 to 28 January 2008 at Mayajaal Cricket Ground, near Chennai, with Chennai Superstars winning again. A third edition which commenced on 9 March 2008 saw the league expanded to eight teams and matches being played at two further venues, Hyderabad and Gurgaon. The Hyderabad Heroes won the 3rd edition. The fourth edition was a domestic Twenty-20 tournament won by Chandigarh Lions.

The second season, which added Ahmedabad as a venue, commenced in the last quarter of 2008, with the Lahore Badshahs from Pakistan winning.

League structure

Each team is be coached by a former international cricketer and will comprise four international, two Indian and eight budding domestic players. Essel Group is also planning to set up cricket academies all over the country. The BCCI has been assured that it is free to draw from ICL's talent pool. The league became active in November 2007 with matches in the Twenty20 format.

Former international cricketers including Kapil Dev, Tony Greig, Dean Jones and Kiran More have been hired as board members of the Indian Cricket League [10]. The board positions will be paid positions [11].

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ICL World Teams

The World

India

Pakistan

Bangladesh

ICL Domestic Teams

Tournaments

First season

Second season

Reasons for creation

Several factors have played a role in formulation of a cricket league which may run in parallel to the current official Indian cricket control body, BCCI.

The "Inverted Pyramid" cricket structure

There is wide disparity between the facilities enjoyed by the national team and the regional ones. This makes the regional players far from finished products when they are called to represent their country, preventing a huge country like India from having adequate reserve strength in the national squad when key players are injured or retire. Also, the regional cricket boards depend on the BCCI for hand-outs of funds for infrastructure and grassroots development. The players who are entrenched at the top have strong backing from sports management firms and also can afford the best in personal trainers, physiotherapists and technical consultants, which are well beyond the scope of the average player.

Zee Telefilms desire to create sports content

The Essel group has expressed a keen desire to help India develop cricketing talent, as well as provide lucrative sports programming for Zee Telefilms, which lost out on the rights to broadcast all BCCI-sanctioned cricket matches in India until 2011.

Essel Group had originally launched Zee Sports earlier with the anticipation of bagging at least some of the BCCI telecast rights in 2006. This was followed by Zee acquiring 50 percent in TEN Sports in November 2006 for Rs. 257 crore (Rs. 2.57 billion). This gave the company a few international cricket rights — West Indies, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Cricket played in India generates Rs. 1,000 crore (Rs. 10 billion) in advertising and subscription revenue and Subhash Chandra has been acutely aware of his company missing out on this lucrative cricket pie.

During his battle with BCCI and ESPN Star Sports for the five-year telecast rights in August-September 2004 in the Bombay High Court, Chandra was present every day for the hearings. Despite Zee bidding the highest at $307 million, BCCI and its then president Jagmohan Dalmiya denied him the rights.

The pain of denial has been with Chandra since 2000 when the ICC World Cup rights were sold to NewsCorp’s Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) for $550 million despite Zee bidding the highest at $650 million citing Zee's insufficient sports marketing experience.

In August 2005, Zee again emerged as a forerunner with a pitch of over $340 million while ESPN Star Sports, the other principal contender, is believed to have offered around $325 million. BCCI took the stance that Zee was not qualified as a specialist broadcaster and refused to consider Zee’s proposal. The matter expectedly went to court and Doordarshan emerged the beneficiary.

Chandra then tried the political route too and supported Sharad Pawar’s candidature as BCCI president against Dalmiya. Pawar emerged victorious but not Chandra. In the last round of bidding in February, last year, it was Nimbus who bagged BCCI’s telecast rights till 2011 for $613 million with Zee trailing at $513 million.

Since there was a Zee-Nimbus alliance before the bidding, media pundits thought Nimbus’ bid was a Zee front. But Nimbus chose to go its own way and launched its own sports network – NEO Sports.

Support for the league

The ICL has received support from some unexpected quarters. There was a fear that lack of access to infrastructure, like the premier cricket stadiums, would limit the success of the operation of the league, but support from various government bodies has boosted the league. Camps will be held at Mayajaal in Chennai, which is a private resort with good cricket facilities [12]. Indian Railways chief Lalu Prasad has shown his backing by opening all the cricket stadiums controlled by the Indian Railways to the league. Describing the ICL as a “good initiative”, Prasad has issued a statement saying that the BCCI and ICL should each come up with a cricket team and play against each other to show who's the best. [1] The state government of West Bengal has also agreed to rent its cricket grounds, notably Eden Gardens, to the league.[13]

Controversy

BCCI Response

The BCCI refused to recognise the ICL as a cricket league, and criticised Kiran More and Kapil Dev for joining the ICL.[14] Kapil Dev's association with ICL was seen by the establishment as a conflict of interest as he was also the chairman of National Cricket Academy, a BCCI owned cricket facility.[15]. On August 21, 2007 Kapil Dev was sacked from his NCA post.[16] Subhash Chandra had earlier stated that the ICL will go ahead regardless of the BCCI's stance. The International Cricket Council gave a statement through its chief executive, Malcolm Speed, that the ICC would not recognize the ICL unless the BCCI chooses to recognise it. The ICC looks at the ICL as an issue to be sorted out by the BCCI.

Faced with the threat of young players joining the ICL, the BCCI jacked up prize money for winners, runners-up and losing semi-finalists across all tournaments. An average domestic cricketer can hope to make around Rs 35,000 per match day from the season of 2007-08: more than double the Rs 16,000 they got in 2005-06. The BCCI has also planned to do away with honorary selectors, who will be paid professionals from September 2008 onwards. [17]

The BCCI started its own international Twenty20 league. The official league, which launched in April 2008, is called the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket. The league model is revolutionary, based on the franchise model of the National Football League and Major League Baseball in the USA[18].

ICL takes BCCI to court

In August 2007, the ICL filed a petition against the BCCI in the Delhi High Court accusing the BCCI of threatening and intimidating them and other state organsiations, and asked the court to stop BCCI from interfering with its attempts to sign up players for its tournaments. It also petitioned that the BCCI stop trying to "out-hire" cricket stadiums in India that are owned by the state governments, in anti-competitive attempts to stop the ICL from using them to play matches.

On August 27, 2007, the Delhi High Court ruled in favor of the ICL. In its ruling, the Delhi High Court said that players should not suffer in the battle between corporate giants. The court has issued notices to all corporate sponsors, the state cricket associations & the BCCI against terminating valid contracts of players joining the ICL.[19]

The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) of India has asked its Director-General of Investigation to do an initial investigation into the BCCI's action against players who have joined the ICL. The investigation was based on media reports of the BCCI giving an open statement that it will ban players who join ICL. It was also reported in the media that all state associations, under direction from the BCCI, have cancelled contracts with players.[20]

Pressure on Players from Other National Organisations

In considering rejoining the ICL former England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon was said to have put his career in jeopardy because any player that signs up with the ICL, which does not have official status from the International Cricket Council, risks losing their registration .[21]

The addition of a new team from Dhaka in Bangladesh, consisting largely of Bangladesh internationals caused more controversy as the cricket board of that country banned the players for 10 years for joining the 'rebel' ICL.[22] Faced with the departure of so many players the board appealed to other Bangladeshi players to reject the new ICL team, stay loyal to the board and embrace the opportunity to play for their country.[23]

The Downfall of the ICL

The future of ICL Has become dark when BCCI allowed ICL players to play international matches.Since then many ICL players have returned to their national team including famous players like Shane Bond , Abdul Razzak and many other famous players.

The huge success of IPL is also a reason of the coming down of ICL

Shortly before the conclusion of the inaugural tournament, the ICL announced its plans for expansion, which include a fifty over tournament in February 2008, and the expansion of the ICL Indian Championship to eight teams for the second tournament, due to be held in September and October 2008.[24]

A similar initiative has been launched in United States by the PayAutoMata group but details have yet to emerge.[25]

In October 2008, the promoters of the ICL, Zee and its parent company Essel Sports Pvt. Ltd, had applied for trademark registration of T20 under Class 28 of the Trade Mark Rules, 2002.[26] [27]

Transparency Issues

Independent analysts have had difficulty gauging the financial viability of the ICL due to the lack of transparency of the league’s operations. Terms of contracts are hidden and advertising revenue from match telecasts — considered to be a major contributor to revenues — have never been disclosed. Because they are unsanctioned by the ICC, the teams do not have access to the best facilities across the whole country or access to the best players, limiting their ability to generate high gate revenues. This lack of transparency leads to questions regarding the overall viability of the ICL’s business model.[citation needed]

Upcoming Fixtures

The 9 teams in ICL were scheduled to play their next edition of the Indian Championship in India from October 10 2008, to be followed by the second World Series, with four teams. However, this tournament was cancelled following the Mumbai attacks.[28]

Broadcasting of ICL

Since the ICL is conducted by Zee Telefilms, the ICL is broadcast in most domains on the Zee network.[29]

Broadcaster Regional Broadcast Rights
Zee Sports
Global Rights, India -- Hindi, Bangladesh & USA
Ten Sports
India -- English, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Middle East
BTV
Bangladesh
ATN Bangla
Bangladesh
Gateway
North Africa
Telkom-Malaysia
Malaysia
Astro TVIQ
Malaysia
Fox Sports
Australia
Zee Music
UK
Zee Smile Asia[citation needed]
Zee TV
Africa
Caribbean Media Corporation
Caribbean
bollywood.tv
World Wide Web
glutv
World Wide Web
mypopkorn
World Wide Web
watchindiatv
World Wide Web

Broadcasting Ban

In November 2008, the Bangladeshi government set a ban on the broadcasting of live matches of the ICL on a the private held Diganta TV channel in the country. This would extend to the ICL World Series featuring the country's national team.[30]

Other private cricket leagues

Most professional cricket around the world is run by the national cricket boards of the full members of the ICC, but there have been several previous attempts to create professional leagues outside the established system. Like the ICL, each of them came into conflict with the establishment:

References

  1. ^ Indian Board Threatens To Ban Players Who Play In ICL, Cricket World, retrieved August 3, 2008
  2. ^ South African players warned over rebel league, Reuters, retrieved August 3, 2008
  3. ^ Ekbaat staff (September 15, 2007). "Why and how was ICL created". Ekbaat. http://www.ekbaat.com/document.php?id=46. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  4. ^ Cricinfo staff (3 April 2007). "Business mogul announces new cricket league". Cricinfo. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/current/story/288641.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  5. ^ Cricinfo staff (July 26, 2007). "Warne and McGrath set to join ICL: Kapil". Cricinfo. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/303681.html. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  6. ^ Cricinfo staff (August 16, 2007). "Farhat released from central contract". Cricinfo. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/pakistan/content/story/307111.html. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  7. ^ . http://cricketnext.in.com/news/recognise-icl-says-miandad/26518-13.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  8. ^ CricketWorld (December 24, 2007). "Pakistan Bans ICL Players From Domestic Cricket". CricketWorld. http://www.cricketworld.com/internationalcricketnews/pakistan/article/?aid=14237. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  9. ^ Andrew McGlashan (13 March 2008). "ICL-county situation as clear as mud". Cricinfo. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/england/content/story/342292.html. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  10. ^ Cricinfo staff (14 May 2007). "Zee Sports denies signing of stars". Cricinfo. http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/294055.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  11. ^ Khanna, Roma (14 May 2007). "BCCI's own now have a new job". CricketNext. http://www.cricketnext.com/news/bccis-own-now-have-a-new-job/24999-13.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  12. ^ Vasu, Anand (22 August 2007). "ICL to hold camp at Mayajaal in Chennai". cricinfo.com. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/307932.html. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  13. ^ Press Trust of India (23 August 2007). "State minister allows ICL use of Eden Gardens". cricinfo.com. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/icl/content/story/308020.html. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  14. ^ Press Trust of India (13 June 2007). "BCCI shoots down ICL". Rediff.com. http://inhome.rediff.com/cricket/2007/jun/13icl.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  15. ^ Shanbhag, Sudhakar (13 June 2007). "BCCI Not To Recognise Zee-Promoted Indian Cricket League". Worldcuplatest.com. http://www.cricketworldcuplatest.com/news/bcci-not-to-recognise-zee-promoted-indian-cricket--113086.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  16. ^ Press Trust of India (21 August 2007). "Kapil sacked as NCA Chairman". Rediff.com. http://in.rediff.com/cricket/2007/aug/21kapil.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  17. ^ Press Trust of India (21 June 2007). "BCCI hikes domestic match fees". Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/cms/print.jsp?docpath=/cricket/2007/aug/21hike.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  18. ^ Jamie Alter (13 September 2007). "International Twenty20 league launched". Cricinfo.com. http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/310809.html. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  19. ^ "Delhi HC orders companies to let players join ICL". http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-29170020070827. 
  20. ^ "Cricket row under MRTPC scanner". http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2007/09/07/stories/2007090752610100.htm. 
  21. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/twenty20/3114957/Paul-Nixon-puts-county-career-in-jeopardy-by-rejoining-rebel-Indian-Cricket-League.html
  22. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/other_international/bangladesh/7621276.stm
  23. ^ http://sify.com/sports/fullstory.php?id=14759551
  24. ^ Indian Cricket League Announce Plans For 2008
  25. ^ "Indian Cricket League invades the Americas". http://www.mmdnewswire.com/the-indian-cricket-league-invades-the-americas-2626.html.+4 December 2007. http://www.indiancricketleague.com. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  26. ^ http://www.livemint.com/2008/09/23000301/2008/09/17232516/2008/10/03005121/Zee-Twenty20-cricket-league-se.html?d=2
  27. ^ http://thecricketingleague.blogspot.com/2008/10/zee-promoted-icl-planning-to-patent-t20.html
  28. ^ ICL Launches Third T20 Season And Ninth Team, Cricket World, 16th September 2008
  29. ^ http://www.indiancricketleague.in/news/inner-news.aspx?xfile=data/news/2008/October/news_20081007_20.xml
  30. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=8f2e6595-6447-4110-b354-d3d1595530d0
  31. ^ Giri, Nisha (5 August 2005). "The ICC Is Not Against Procricket". Little India. http://www.littleindia.com/news/152/ARTICLE/1521/2004-08-05.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 

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