Tag Archives: ICL

The slow demise of ICL

Captains of the ICL teams posing with the Trophy

Captains of the ICL teams posing with the Trophy

BCCI have achieved what they set out to do couple of years back when the ICL was launched. ICL was launched in 2007 by Zee Enterprises as their bid to telecast couple of International tournaments was denied by the BCCI. When the ICL was launched lots of International players were excited and expressed interest in the same. Big names such as Shane Bond, Abdul Razzak and few other retired players joined the league.

BCCI obviously was not thrilled and called it a “Rebel” league. The BCCI also said that any player joining the league will not be allowed to play for India. BCCI’s power in International cricket is now a known fact and this caused all the other nations to follow suit and ban their players joining the so called “Rebel” league. BCCI did not stop there, they came up with their own T20 league and launched the IPL in 2007 and signed up all the big stars in the International arena.

Once the BCCI did that everyone knew that ICL would stand no chance against the financial powerhouse of the World cricket. The IPL season 1 was a big hit and the combination of International superstars and Bollywood superstars made the league a super duper hit in 2008. Even though ICL has been fighting for their rights against the BCCI and the ICC for recognition over the past two years, there was no doubt in everyone’s mind that this league will not survive for long.

There were lots of talks between the two parties but were unable to reach an amicable solution. In 2009 the recession had caught up with the ICL and they were unable to have their league which put lots of doubts on their players and slowly they started to part their ways with the league. Players like Shane Bond, Abdul Razzak and Mohd. Yousuf are already in their National sides and the BCCI have also given a second chance to the Indian youngsters to sever their contracts with the ICL.

It seems like the end is nearing for the ICL. Even though Kapil Dev (Chairman) had repeatedly told the media that both leagues can survive together, the possibility of that happening looks bleak right now. Even though I am not a avid supporter of the BCCI’s methods, I am happy for the International players who can now play test cricket and advance their careers. Shane Bond especially is a brilliant bowler and would be a great boost for a struggling New Zealand team. Mohd Yousuf coming back to Pakistan test team also will give them a huge boost.

BCCI have been arrogant and they said that the Indian players parting with the ICL cannot be considered for India for a year at least. The players though will be happy that they will at least get an opportunity to represent India in the future. Most of them are pretty young and 1 year would not be a big deal. The ICL might still go on as there are some retired stars still in the league but will lose its charm. BCCI have achieved what they wanted and ICL might eventually die down.

Even though it’s unfortunate for the ICL, I am just happy that some great players will again get a chance to play for their countries. The youngsters who were caught in the cross fire would be happy that in the future they can play for their country. ICL was good but was started for a wrong reason. Even though BCCI is no saint, I am just happy that this fight which was dividing world cricket is nearing its end. International teams have got back their stars and India has got back their youngsters.

IPL good but ICL better

ICL provides more closely fought games than IPL

ICL provides more closely fought games than IPL

We have seen so many articles in past couple of years about ICL but there have been very few based on the actual action on the field. The so called “Rebel” league enjoys very less space on the media due to its status. Well keeping the political standpoint aside lets for once concentrate on the actual cricket. I have watched two editions of ICL and the inaugural edition of IPL earlier this year.

While IPL is all glamour and glitz, ICL is more about cricket. Even though I loved watchin IPL’s first edition earlier this year I would rate ICL higher in terms of action on the field. ICL provides more close contests than what I saw in IPL earlier this year. We might put that down to IPL being in its first season and ICL has already completed 2 editions. IPL was enjoyable but there was a overdose of bollywood stars in the first edition. It was exciting in the beginning but later in the tournament it became little bit irritating and annoying.

Every four or a six from the Kolkata Knightriders was followed by the camera focussing on Sharukh khan dancing on the stands with his esteemed bollywood friends. The purpose of the league was lost on the same. The cricket was good but it was unable to sustain the hype for too long. ICL on the other hand does not have the burden that IPL has, its sans hype and media attention. Not many high profile bollywood stars are involved which shifts the focus on cricket. I have seen few bollywood stars here and there but none dancing in the stands regularly for all the games.

The franchise system is a good attempt in cricket and it was highly successful in the first edition of IPL. But the organizers need to be careful as the focus can easily shift from cricket and the league can become one big budget bollywood movie. The stars are fine as they own some of the teams but while there is a cricket match going on, the focus should remain on the ground rather than on the stars in the stands. IPL was good as an overall entertainment package but as Kapil put it ICL is definitely better in terms of quality of cricket.