The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reportedly luring Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises by offering them stakes in The Hundred, an innovative league starting this July in England.
According to a report published in The Telegraph in England, each of the eight IPL franchises have been offered “25 per cent stake” in all the eight teams of The Hundred, with Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) reportedly showing interest.
Besides, the ECB has also offered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) a “slice of Asian television rights” to get the glamour boys of world cricket, such as Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant, among others, to play in The Hundred.
The talks between the BCCI and the ECB had started before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, said the report. It also said that when ECB chair Ian Watmore and CEO Tom Harrison visited Ahmedabad for the India-England pink ball Test last month, they discussed The Hundred with the BCCI officials.
Two senior BCCI officials, however, said on Thursday that they were not aware of any development or talks between the ECB and the BCCI regarding The Hundred. “I am not aware of it,” one of them told IANS, while the other concurred with him.
“It is understood the ECB is considering a number of potential partnership opportunities with India as they look to capitalise on a relationship with the game’s powerhouse that has never been stronger,” said the Telegraph report, adding: “It is also expected that Indian players will be made available this summer for the women’s Hundred, potentially paving the way for the men to follow in 2022.”
Manoj Badale, the London-based owner of Rajasthan Royals, and Venky Mysore, CEO and MD of Kolkata Knight Riders, had in the past said that they would explore if the opportunity to invest in The Hundred came their way.
However, both franchises confirmed to IANS on Thursday that there had been no further development or talks with the ECB regarding The Hundred.
Two years ago, Badale was asked if he sees the UK as a market for short format cricket. “Yes. The ECB is investing heavily in the development of cricket in this country and with The Hundred, their marketing spends will only increase further. We are looking to increase our touch points with the UK cricketing community and hence support the growth of the game,” Badale was quoted as saying by www.sportindustry.biz.
However, officials from the two franchises say that there has been no further development since the show of interest by KKR and RR bosses when the idea of The Hundred was floated a couple of years ago.
“Both Badale and Mysore had in the past mentioned that they could explore the opportunities to invest if they were to come by. However, they have not made any commitment and no development has been made so far on that front,” a franchise official aware of the two franchises’ developments told IANS.
The BCCI does not allow players to play in overseas T20 leagues. If an Indian cricketer wants to play in an overseas T20 franchise league, even for a team owned by an IPL franchise, he has to retire officially from Indian cricket, and inform the BCCI.
Pravin Tambe, who represented Rajasthan Royals, Gujarat Lions and SunRisers Hyderabad, had to quit official Indian cricket to represent Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, even though the franchise is owned by Kolkata Knight Riders.
Players like Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel and Sudip Tyagi quit in the same manner to play in the Lanka Premier League last year.