The following story appeared in Telegraph UK web site. The English have missed the bus in participating in the IPL T20 cricket tournament in any form. The Venue for IPL finals is already fixed and there is no chance of it being shifted to Lords. Besides UK neither has the stadium capacity nor the kind of public participation India has. Reading the tone of this article makes me feel the English are trying to console themselves. More than the IPL final it seems they want a Twenty 20 format of their own. But where are the crowds and where is the money?
Your comments on the following story are welcome.
Your comments on the following story are welcome.
IPL offers Lord's Twenty20 finale
By Simon Hughes
The $5 million Champions League-style final of the Indian Premier League could be staged at Lord's this September.
That is the offer on the table to English cricket from IPL officials. They are desperately keen to stage the climax to the tournament over here, featuring the top two teams from the IPL and the leading sides from England's, Australia's, South Africa's and Pakistan's own domestic Twenty20 competitions.
Dubai had been earmarked for this international denouement in October. But the Dubai ground is unlikely to be ready in time, so the Indian organisers are in talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board to find a window of opportunity.
"Not so fast, not so fast!" seems to be the reply from the ECB, some of whose senior representatives are currently in India scratching their heads. The main problem is time. The Indians want a week to stage the tournament, but in England's congested summer, that is hard to find.
The ideal time would be straight after England's final one-day international against South Africa on Sept 3rd. But the ICC champions trophy in Pakistan - a 50-over competition which represents one of world sport's most pointless and derided events - begins a week later. The international merry-go-round halts briefly in early October, but top-class cricket has never been played in England that late in the year.
With some creative thinking it could be done. Whittling the teams down to one winner could be achieved in five days in the Twenty20 format (ie between Sept 5th and 9th) but the ECB prefer to wait and see what the Indian public and business community's response to the IPL is before they take discussions further.
They are not convinced about the city franchise idea for an English Twenty20, citing the example of Essex as a county who already sell out their one-day home fixtures and therefore do not need the carrot of a new tournament or identity. Where this argument falls down is that Essex made a meagre profit last year of £17,000, and that was after their £1.3?million handout from the ECB. There is too much complacency in the running of the English game. Attitudes need to change, fast.
Large, enthusiastic crowds revelled in the IPL entertainment over the weekend despite the general absence of close matches. Mike Hussey emulated Brendon McCullum's pulsating batting in Friday's tournament opener by powering his Chennai team to an unassailable 240 on Saturday in Mohali.
In Delhi, a limp batting display by Jaipur angered their captain Shane Warne enough for a stern lecture in the dressing room afterwards. The Delhi Daredevils inevitable victory did not dissuade the home crowd from staying on and enjoying the colossal strikes and audacious shots. That is the difference with Twenty20. It is sport as dramatic incident rather than nailbiting contest.
Some of the batting has been ingenious. The one bright point in the Jaipur innings was the performance of Dinesh Salunkhe, an anonymity who was discovered last year on the Cricket Star talent show I helped create. He had the nerve to walk outside his offstump and flip a near yorker from Glenn McGrath over the keeper's head.
The reverse sweep is already passe in this competition as batsmen continue to explore cricket's 360-degree potential. Salunkhe had taken his lead from McCullum the day before.
The general advance of Indian cricket is one of the benefits of the IPL. Local players have always had raw talent but tended to lack the sophistication of other top players. Now that they are rubbing shoulders with the Warne's and McGraths and Sangakkaras, they will acquire new skills quickly.
New stars will be created. Denied the oxygen of ideas and methods that this tournament supplies, the progress of English players will be stifled. The IPL is a hotbed of physical exploration. It is a sporting brainstorm.
This is another reason the ECB must embrace the idea. The array of third-rate overseas pros in county cricket underlines the urgent need to lure the elite back to the English game they so enlightened in the Seventies and Eighties. A new Twenty20 league based on cities could also properly integrate club cricket with the professional game for the first time since the 18th century. It is the perfect opportunity for a revamp to create cricket's version of the FA Cup.
In a bold venture like this, India does have advantages. Manpower is one, the ability to rent a crowd another. Sixty per cent of the tickets have been given away so far. Consistently balmy evenings also help. Unexpected hiccups, like last night's floodlight failure at a crucial stage in Calcutta, are handled with great equanimity.
With all the comings and goings of the internationals - everyone of whom has utterly thrown himself into the fray - it is going to take time for cities to properly bond with their teams.
But by staging such vibrant cross-cultural events - sport blended with music and dance - the IPL organisers have tapped into a desire to not only watch a show but actually participate in it. Leaving the Delhi ground on Saturday night, hoardes of twentysomethings streamed out happily reflecting on their evening.
Four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic inched along the duel carriageway in both directions. Along the road was a doleful looking little donkey trapped in the central reservation, resigned to watching the traffic pass. Symbolic of the ECB? Let's hope not.