India should ease control of T20 leagues for the good of the game: Aravinda de Silva

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Aravinda de Silva. (Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Former captain of Sri Lanka Aravinde de Silva acknowledged that cricket has benefited from the IPL and other T20 leagues but urged India to allow star players to play tournaments abroad.

The Indian Premier League has emerged as cricket’s hottest ground, attracting top foreign talent like England’s Jos Buttler and Australia’s David Warner in a bid to win millions of dollars to play in the high-octane, two-month jamboree.

Known for aggressive batting during an illustrious career that included a 1996 World Cup triumph, Aravinda compared the current T20 leagues to English cricket in the second half of the last century, which attracted top players from around the world to ply their trade learn and gain experience.

“It’s like county cricket in those days that gave the English cricketers the edge,” the 56-year-old, who played for England’s county of Kent in the 1990s, told AFP.

“The IPL, Big Bash or in England the Hundred and T20 Blitz, these are tournaments that allow players to develop.”

The Indian Premier League was formed in 2008 and has spawned copycat tournaments around the world.

But it remains the biggest draw with a recent media rights auction valuing the IPL at a whopping $6.2 billion, or $15 million per game, making it bigger than the English Premier League in that regard of football, which is valued at $11 million per game.

Aravinda said India should allow smaller nations to share in the wealth being generated to help the game grow, raise global game standards and improve skill levels, something that would ultimately benefit the IPL.

“If you have a dominant country, you can see from the IPL that they basically have a monopoly on the premier leagues because the Indian cricketers are not allowed to play in other leagues,” Aravinda said.

“So what’s likely to happen is that if the standard continues to drop and there’s no real competition – eventually it will affect the global game.

IPL’s rich rewards

“If (India) doesn’t find a way to support the other countries and get a grip on them with the kind of support that the game requires these days, it will be negative for the cricket world.

“It is the responsibility of the (world governing body) ICC to ensure that this is done in a way that these countries continue to develop, otherwise we don’t want a situation like Zimbabwe and South Africa as they have dipped from their cricket standard.”

Sri Lankan players have individually reaped rewards from the IPL. Leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.42m and was the second-highest wicket-taker in this year’s 10-team tournament.

The Sri Lankan version, the LPL, was last played in 2021 with five teams led by Sri Lankan stars including Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella, and Aravinda also praised Pakistan for tackling the Pakistan Super League despite the lack of publicity and put on a great show due to a lack of resources.

Sri Lanka are currently 1-0 at home to Australia in a two-game series but Aravinda was confident the hosts could bounce back in the second test, which begins in Galle on Friday.

And he was grateful to Australia for touring the island nation for a day-long, five-game, two-Test international series to bring some joy to the people of Sri Lanka struggling through an unprecedented economic crisis.

“We definitely saw the passion despite all these issues, we had some full houses during the one-day series,” Aravinda said.

“[I am] Thank you to the Australians who chose to come and bring a smile to the people of Sri Lanka. It was wonderful. You have my heartfelt thanks.”

India should ease control of T20 leagues for the good of the game: Aravinda de Silva

Source link India should ease control of T20 leagues for the good of the game: Aravinda de Silva

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