BCCI launches its own ‘premier’ T20 league

New Delhi, Sept 13: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today launched its own cash-rich domestic and international Twenty20 league with the support of top Test playing nations.

BCCI vice president Lalit Modi here announced the setting of the Indian Premier League in the presence of top representatives of several Test playing nations and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Apart from the IPL, the BCCI also announced the international Champions Twenty20 League, which will feature the top two clubs of India, Australia, South Africa and England.

"I think so, because we discussed with other Boards' presidents, and this suggestion came from them, and everybody feels this type of experiment will be fit to repeat in other countries," said Sharad Pawar, President of BCCI.

Indian skipper Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble were present on the occasion, along with senior BCCI officials, and a several international players including former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath.

"This is the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket. I believe it is going to propel the game onto the next level. I have experienced this in South Africa. When we started it four years ago, South African cricket was on a downward slide. It is up there now," said Ray Mali, President of International Cricket Council.

The BCCI has also decided that the league would follow the club format with eight teams in it and each team will have 16 players each with individual contracts. Each team would have four local and four international players.
Eight domestic teams from four nations would participate in the first Twenty20 League, apart from India, Australia, England and South Africa. The winning team will get five million dollars, highest ever for a cricket event.
The launch comes days after a rival Indian cricket league promoted by the country's biggest media firm Zee Telefilm Ltd. announced its own Twenty20 match in October in Chennai.

Commenting on the ICL, Modi said, "The players have chosen where they want to go and how they want to go, and they are free to do so."

The rival league has appointed former skipper Kapil Dev the head of its executive board and recruited players such as the recently retired Brian Lara, former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq and batsman Mohammad Yousuf besides many domestic players. (With Inputs from ANI)