Thursday, 14 February 2008

Australia to reschedule calendar around IPL

So, BCCI has set the cat among pigeons and cricket boards are scurrying for extra cover.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is ticking like a hand grenade about to explode after BCCI has removed the safety pin. And cricket is the obvious casualty-in-waiting.

Shane Warne (see previous post) may have earned his stripe as the fastest-finger-on-cell-keyboard but he also owns the copyright of the idea that IPL should be incorporated in the ICC calendar.

And now realising the futility of waging an already lost war against the cash-awash Twenty20 extravaganza, Cricket Australia (CA) is all set to dance to the IPL tune and reschedule its Future Tours Program, outlined till 2012, and fit it around the Indian league.

In a sense, this was inevitable. Whatever they may claim, cricket’s real stars, fortunately, are its practitioners and not the rulers and, cricketers should have the last word.

“There is a little bit of the whore in all of us, gentlemen. What is your price?” when Kerry Packer was asking the question to the Australian cricket board officials back in 1976, he was just stating the obvious -- that money talks, and sings too as people dance to its tune.

Already, Neil Maxwell, who manages Brett Lee and Mike Hussey, has warned that players might ditch their national team to take the IPL plunge if CA does not listen to their demand. That left CA hardly with any second option.

Suddenly, no one is talking about burnout. The same players who felt being flogged by a demanding schedule, are merrily queuing up to sign their IPL contract. Men of honour, who swore by the national colours, stood shoulder-to-shoulder in those spectacular huddles to the refrain of the national anthem and pledged their life for the honour of the country, are suddenly holding their board to ransom.

A nouveau riche and unscrupulous BCCI, high on its stinking riches, has planted a seed of discord that threatens to tear apart the game and cricket could consider itself lucky if it can survive the upheaval.

Old fogies would mutter Bodyline, some would claim World Series Cricket and a couple might say Oval controversy or Bollyline. But if inkling are anything to go by, IPL could well be the biggest crisis in the history, geography and everything else of the game.

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