There has been a boom in T20 leagues around the world as cricket has evolved in the last decade or so, most well represented in India by the success of the IPL. The IPL has quickly become the most watched cricket event in the Indian calendar, but what makes it evident that this formula is ensured to work is also seen from the popularity and TV ratings of the various regional leagues spurting across the country.
The Karnataka Premier League has been around since 2009, the Tamil Nadu Premier League is being played to packed grounds on its debut edition right now, Sourav Ganguly has proposed that a similar league be played in Bengal.
What makes the situation even more chaotic is the fact that not only state cricket associations are planning these T20 leagues, private businesses have spotted this opportunity too.
A league being organised on similar lines called the Indian Champions League has come under the scrutiny of FICA (Federation of International Cricketers’ Association). Details of this new league are sketchy, but it seems it is scheduled to be hosted in Dubai in December-January.
“FICA has been advised that the proposed 'Indian Champions League' event scheduled to take place in December 2016 is not yet sanctioned. Accordingly, players are advised that playing in this event could have negative implications on their careers. The event is currently deemed to be disapproved cricket under ICC Regulations."
Details of the ICL
Eight teams are listed as participating in this new version of the ICL, of no relation with Essel Group’s original ICL venture in 2007. These teams are Delhi Badshah, Indore Rockets, Mumbai Stars, Chennai Warriors, Hyderabad Riders, Bangalore Tigers, Lucknow Superstars and Chandigarh Heroes.
There is a list of currently playing and retired foreign cricketers on the Facebook page of the event, called ICL League (sic) - including Herschelle Gibbs, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Wayne Parnell, Jesse Ryder, Justin Kemp, Sean Williams, Daryll Tuffey, Hamilton Masakadza, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeshchate, Graham Onions, Tino Best and others.
Pakistani players, who have not found representation in the IPL for many years, are also mentioned on this page as participating in this ICL – Danish Kaneria, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Maqsood, Imran Farhat and Salman Butt, fresh from the ban imposed on him.
No major Indian player is mentioned as being affiliated to the league. A few U-19 names are mentioned, and a form is available for Indians willing to participate in the league –
Details surrounding the Indian Champions League are still unclear. India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe are the only countries outside of the jurisdiction of the FICA; surely, currently playing cricketers from other countries would not risk their careers to take part in this private league.
It is known, however, that the ICL is not the only league of this sort currently being planned. There are many leagues, going under a variety of names, spurting up through various parts of India. All of them are planning to get themselves cleared by the BCCI, but seem to have reached a similar deadlock.
It will be interesting to follow if the necessary clearances do come.