Thanks to BCCI, IPL gets what it truly deserves | Cricket News

MUMBAI: For the umpteenth time in 15 years since inception, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has always moved in a direction that changed the global cricket calendar as we have known it. This year, it has moved beyond the expected.
Largely thanks to the current BCCI administration led by its secretary Jay Shah, the marquee T20 property has now carved out an extended window for itself in the international calendar, one that will now allow the IPL to run for a full three months and ensure that any or all cricket in the rest of the world comes to a standstill during this time.
The credit for ICC‘s new FTP, in the context of this changing landscape, goes to BCCI & Shah alone.
The draft of ICC’s Future Tours Program (FTP) is ready and the game’s parent body is in the middle of selling its media rights for the next financial cycle. While that happens, the IPL – whose own media rights got sold in excess of Rs 48,000 crore last month – has ensured that ICC will not conduct any of its tournaments between March and May over the next four years and so will the other cricket boards around the world, as members of the governing body.
Like England plays all its cricket at home during the English summer and has those three months exclusively set aside for themselves when cricket in most other parts of the southern hemisphere comes to a halt; like Australia that refuses to play anywhere else but at home around the boxing day and start of the new year alongside hosting the Big Bash League (BBL); India too has finally flexed its muscle to ensure no cricket happens while the IPL goes on.
In the run-up to IPL’s recent expansion in terms of adding new franchises and the eventual sale of media rights, Shah, who has been taking keen interest in the affairs of the ICC, had shown particular interest in not just carving out a larger window for the IPL but also ensuring player availability from across the world.
“This, he realized for certain, was required if he had to go about adding franchises to the IPL and ensuring player availability, which is crucial to the overall health of the league. Now, both these elements had two basic requirements: a) a larger and an exclusive window; b) ensure that players are free from any other commitments during this time.
“As you can see in the new FTP draft, both these boxes have been ticked,” say those tracking developments.
For the first time since IPL’s introduction, the BCCI has bargained for an exclusive window. In the past, cricket administrators from India may have wielded enough influence at the global level but had categorically restrained themselves from bargaining for an exclusive window for the IPL knowing that if they did it, so would the other boards, thus disturbing the bilateral structure for the rest of the year.
“However, what has happened during this time is that T20 leagues have sprouted around the world, have tried creating their own business models and are either thriving in their own right or struggling – to each its own. The point, however, is that the calendar has been getting packed and skewed and a marked exclusive window alone is the answer going forward. Therefore, it was time for the BCCI and the IPL to make that first move and credit must be given to Shah and his team for acting swiftly here,” sources add.
The Hundred and the BBL also have their own respective windows now in the international calendar, but these will run parallel with their upcoming bilateral commitments. In that, the IPL alone has managed to bargain for absolute exclusivity while India will continue to engage with its bilateral commitments alternately towards the latter part of the year.
In fact, the Indian cricket administration — at its lowest between 2017 and 2019, thanks to some of its own past administrators working against BCCI’s interests at the ICC — had forced India to lose initiatives at the global level, thereby putting them on the backfoot. In a packed calendar where exclusivity remains the game, the BCCI has fought its way back and only taken what it rightfully deserves.
The ICC and its members fumed on Saturday after the final draft of the FTP was leaked to sections of the media and certain cricket boards, especially Pakistan that will now struggle to find a window for its own T20 league, are clearly unhappy with these developments.
“Now, it doesn’t matter who at the ICC is trying to take credit here for this FTP draft or who in the industry thinks they’ve managed to influence this. The point is, global cricket is in powerplay now and the BCCI is back to setting the field,” says a leading cricket industry executive.
By virtue of being the behemoth that helps world cricket financially sustain, the Indian cricket board has only done what’s best for the game’s most valuable property ever.