Friday, July 11, 2008

Proposal for English IPL-style event

The BBC have reported that plans have been drawn up for a £50million tournament to rival the IPL. It would include nine franchise-based sides linked to the grounds that already stage international matches, although the ECB have played down the suggestion.

MCC, Lancashire, Hampshire and Surrey have reportedly backed the 57-match event earmarked for June and July 2010, although MCC declined to comment.

It is said that the proposals are due to be discussed by the ECB later this month but a spokesman said nothing was on the agenda, while chairman Giles Clarke added: "I am firmly told that this document is not endorsed by the MCC."

Hampshire, one the counties backing the plans, said: "The intelligent and well-considered proposal for such a new Twenty20 competition has been prepared in response to ECB's recent invitation for submissions. The proposal demonstrates significant benefits for all stakeholders in English cricket, with minimal disruption to the traditional domestic structure. Hampshire fully supports the proposal.

"Hampshire understands that the proposal has been correctly submitted to the ECB board by two directors of that board, and cannot perceive of any reason why this should not be seriously considered along with any other validated submissions."

This is just the latest speculation surrounding how English cricket is going to respond to the IPL. There is talk of a 10-day window for international players next April to allow contracted England stars to take part, but the ECB have tried to ward of the threat of lucrative contracts by signing their five-year deal with Allen Stanford.

It is widely accepted that there will be an English version of the IPL in the near future, probably as soon as the new-round of television contracts come into effect from 2010. Further details about this most recent proposal suggest it will include an IPL-style bidding process, a salary cap and a ruling on the number of English youngsters who have to play.

However, the most notable feature if the idea was to get off the ground would be the city-based franchises, a departure from the current county set-up. The likes of Manchester would take on Birmingham instead of Lancashire playing Warwickshire.