Newly-appointed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur has stumbled upon first hurdles in his job after International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to get on board with the proposal of an overseas mini-IPL, a brainchild of Thakur himself.
According to a report in Cricbuzz, BCCI's proposal for a short version of the T20 extravaganza abroad has been opposed by Cricket Australia, West Indies Cricket Board, England Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa. The proposed mini-IPL was being planned for the empty calendar slot in September.
The ICC is currently being chaired by former BCCI president Shashank Manohar. BCCI, known for its big brother-esque high-handedness and influence in international cricket, is not used to taking no for an answer and is known for punishing member boards in the past for going against its wishes by threatening to pull out of tours and hence heaping financial loss on its counter-parts.
Hence, the opposition to a lucrative mini-IPL, one that would cater to the Indian diaspora worldwide, comes as a shock and blow to BCCI's might.
"If true, it's a telling sign of the reduced clout the current set of administrators (in the board) wield, unlike their predecessors.It's also a personal embarrassment for the men running the BCCI right now," the report quoted a source as saying.
Earlier, the September slot was occupied by the Champions League T20, a super-tournament ideologically in line with Uefa Champions League, where domestic T20 champions from different countries competed. The tournament was scrapped in 2015 after it failed to peak the interest of fans. The BCCI has since been looking to introduce a marketable short tournament to take its place, and what better than something that carries the brand-name of wildly successful IPL.
However, the idea for a mini-IPL has not found many favours among the cricketing community. Australia coach Darren Lehmann too has come out and said such a tournament would further restrict time off for his players.
In 2015, Australian cricketers who played all three formats spent on average 280 days overseas. Under Cricket Australia (CA) contracts, players are given a six-week break from commitments, which many use to sign lucrative IPL contracts.
Lehmann said that while the financial incentive to play in India was tempting, it often wore players out and the ICC should use a common sense approach to future scheduling so that the toll on bodies was not too high.
"If it keeps going like this, with players playing IPL as well, they are inevitably going to break down," Lehmann told the Australian media two weeks ago.
The ICC is also currently considering the introduction of a two-tiered test Championship and a one-day league, which would go some way to lightening the workload.