Essel Group to start rebel T20 league in competition with the IPL in a year's time
Essel Group have revealed that they plan to set up a Twenty20 league to rival the Indian Premier League (IPL). Subhash Chandra, whose Indian Cricket League (ICL) failed miserably due to BCCI’s opposition, is the man behind the plan.
Two weeks after reports emerged of the group registering company names in multiple cricket-playing nations, the conglomerate has confirmed its plans of the rival league.
Himanshu Mody, Essel's head of finance and strategy, explained the format of the league and said that it could be more than a year before the league came into existence.
“The format for what we are building will be the T20 format, home and away games, across 10-12 cities,” he said. “We are not looking at a short time frame. It could be a year away or even a little more.”
“We got players even from Pakistan”
The ICL had tanked after the BCCI started the IPL, but Mody said that they are better prepared for similar opposition from the Indian cricket governing body.
“We know the timing is right, but we are equally aware of the pitfalls where BCCI can hit us and are much wiser today. Besides the right time, the two main ingredients are players and grounds. We had four grounds in India during ICL and players.” Mody added.
The thing that would set this league apart from the IPL would be the presence of Pakistani players, who are not allowed to take part in the ongoing cash-rich T20 tournament.
“We got players even from Pakistan, so I do not see both as a problem at all. On the grounds front, during ICL, we fell short with just four grounds in four cities. Also, we learned we needed eight to 10 teams. So, this time round, we will have to ensure we have more grounds,” Mody reaffirmed.
Clarke, Warner offered contracts
Knowing that the players may not trust the Essel Group because of their failure to pay the players for their participation in the ICL, Chandra mentioned the possibility of the cricketers being given bank guarantees to gain their trust.
The broadcasting should not be an issue as Chandra also owns Zee and its subsidiary Ten Sports, who are still reeling over the BCCI’s decision of not giving them rights to telecast cricket in India.
Leading players like Michael Clarke and David Warner have already been approached over the possibility of playing in the league. Reports indicate that the Australian duo have been offered up to $50 million for a multi-year deal in order to entice them into joining the rebel league.