The ECB is taking on the might of BCCI and thinking of conducting its own version of the Champions League.
ECB challenge might of BCCI
The Indian cricket board's relationship with some other countries - especially England, South Africa and Australia - appears to be under some strain. The latest flashpoint involves the Champions Trophy, which was recently awarded to India's neighbours Pakistan. The organisation of the Champions League Twenty20 tournamen,t which involves the top two club teams from four nations, is also a concern for the board.
But unlike other times when fellow Test nations have bowed to pressure from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) seems to be standing its ground. After receiving financial support from the Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, the ECB is taking on the might of BCCI and thinking of conducting its own version of the Champions League. The ECB tried to play it down yesterday, as a spokesman confirmed: "We are discussing some plans. But as far as we are concerned, there is only one Champions League which is being conducted by India."
According to the reports, the ECB are in negotiations with a party in the Middle East and plan to have a tournament in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. "Talks are at an advanced stage," the ECB president David Collier said. However, the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council chairman Dilawar Mani said from New York: "There have been no talks nor has any plan come forward. And Dubai is not in a position to hold it." When the plan for the Champions League was mooted Abu Dhabi was a contender, but lost out as the event needs more than one venue since dates are at a premium in a packed calendar.
The strong stance of the ECB have forced the BCCI to take a step back. The BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi said that the dates for the new league will be announced after the Champions Trophy is completed in Pakistan. The league was already scheduled from Sept 30 to Oct 6. The Champions Trophy will finish on Sept 28. The dates are an issue for Australia as they clash with the warm-up game against India ahead of a their four-Test tour.
India are objecting to the composition of the other three teams, insisting that they do not include players from the Indian Cricket League. The BCCI wants a 50 per cent share of the profits plus the first rights over players who have played for more than one team that reaches the tournament. South Africa's Mornie Morkel and Shane Watson of Australia are examples of dual team members. The BCCI has put its might behind Pakistan keeping the Champions Trophy, much to the chagrin of England, Australia and South Africa players' associations.
There is talk of fielding second string sides or even a group boycott of the tournament. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org