Recently, ex-Australian player Adam Gilchrist expressed his growing concern on how the Indian T20 League is having a rather bad influence on cricketers. Gilchrist commented after the Australian media reported that the southpaw opener, David Warner will miss yet another season of the Australian franchise cricket, the Big Bash League (BBL), for a new league in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) backed by the money of some Indian T20 League franchises. Although it’s not the first time when someone has pointed out the growing influence of the Indian T20 League, it makes you wonder why some are opposed to it.
Let’s find out more about the growing influence of the Indian T20 League and how it might create a monopoly in world cricket.
Indian T20 League Has Moolah
It is no secret that the Indian T20 League is the richest cricket league in the world right now. Their sensational $6.02 billion media rights deal made headlines all around the world as it became one of the most expensive leagues in modern-day sports. This in turn benefits the teams and their owners financially, who are given massive ‘payouts’ from the said amount after every season as a part of their TV rights deal.
With such incomes, the owners of the Indian T20 League teams have started looking at other leagues as well to expand their reach in a bid to increase their overall profits. Some examples are the newly formed T20 franchise cricket in the UAE and South Africa which are being backed by Indian T20 League money. It is said to be the second most lucrative cricket league for players in terms of wages. With such heavy financial backing, it is obvious that the players are tempted to play for such leagues.
However, while people praise the expansion of cricket in the Middle East, what many don’t realise is that this overshadows the rather traditional leagues that have existed long before the UAE T20 league. Hence, the objection and disapproval of others make it seem like the Indian T20 League and its owners are trying to create a monopoly in world cricket.
Adverse Effects Of Franchise Cricket At International Level
Although discarded as hearsay in the past, it is said that some international players would rather play the shorter-form franchise cricket than play the tedious longer international formats. For a long time, the Australian BBL was one of the most anticipated tournaments in the cricket calendar. However, since the financial stage of the Indian T20 League going through the roof, the BBL has been overshadowed, with players around the world preferring to play in India rather than the island nation.
Cricket as a sport is worshipped in India by nearly a billion people. So naturally, the viewership increases when the people see foreign internationals, along with national ‘heroes’, representing their cities. T20 cricket is indeed a more exhilarating format due to its less time-consuming nature for both fans and players. That is why franchise cricket leagues are of T20 format or even lower, as it attracts mass viewership. Greater the viewership, greater the TV rights, which in turn rewards the teams and their players with a handsome fee in the end.
However, this situation results in players preferring to play the Indian franchise cricket over other formats. Massive salary for players is the main reason others fear that the Indian T20 Cricket is creating a monopoly in cricket. The Indian T20 League has the financial strength to offer wages that other leagues like the English tournament, the Hundred or d the BBL cannot afford. Hence, during the Indian season, international players migrate to the subcontinent to be rewarded for their hard work.
The Indian Influence On World Cricket
It seems like everything Indian cricket touches turn into gold. Following the announcement of the UAE T20 League by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), team owners of the Indian T20 League have invested in the participating teams of the Middle East league. Something similar has happened with the new cricket league in South Africa as well. This means that other international cricketers, who otherwise would not have preferred the new tournaments, will now most likely play due to the presence of familiar faces.
While the UAE T20 League will clash with other regional franchise leagues such as BBL, Bangladesh T20 League and others, these other leagues may see big names missing in their program. With David Warner pledging to the Indian T20 League-backed UAE T20 League over BBL, others are likely to follow.
That is perhaps why pundits and former cricketers fear the out-of-proportion control of the Indian T20 League over cricket and their ability to influence the cricketers around the world.
Read: 2022 Asia Cup: UAE To Replace Sri Lanka As The Host
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