More cricket action can be expected next year with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announcing the launch of Indian Premier League (IPL), which would be played in the globally popular Twenty20 format. IPL would make its debut in April 2008.
Lalit Modi, Vice-President, BCCI, hinted that around 30 individuals and corporates had shown interest in sponsoring the event. He, however, refused to divulge their names. “It’s too premature to announce sponsors. We would also go for tenders of franchisee in November 2007,” he added.
Modi also clarified that the formation of the league was not a knee jerk reaction to any rival group, but was already in the pipeline. According to him, the aim of the League was to revitalise domestic cricket. Eight domestic teams from four nations will participate in the first Twenty20 League – India, Australia, England, and South Africa.
The IPL is also the first ever attempt at the franchisee model by the BCCI. Modelled closely on the lines of the successful leagues in the US like National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Soccer, the governing body of IPL will consist of seven members, including Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, M.A.K Pataudi and Rajeev Shukla. The final leg will be called ‘Champions Twenty20 League’.
The IPL will have a total of 59 matches. The winner will get Rs 8 crore, while the total prize money is Rs 20 crore.