The news comes on the back of BCCI secretary Jay Shah giving statements to the press that the board was in talks with the ICC as well as fellow cricket boards for an expanded window for the IPL. 

As per recent media reports, the upcoming FTP of the international cricketing cycle for the 2023-2027 season is all set to have a two-and-a-half-month window for the Indian Premier League (IPL). The news comes on the back of BCCI secretary Jay Shah giving statements to the press that the board was in talks with the ICC as well as fellow cricket boards for an expanded window for the IPL. 

While many former Indian cricketers like Ravi Shastri and Aakash Chopra have praised the decision, stating that it shows the power of the T20 tournament, voices are also growing against it. Cricketing legends like Adam Gilchrist and Aravinda de Silva have expressed concern over BCCI’s monopoly in the T20 leagues. Both have openly questioned the Indian cricket board as to why contracted Indian players don’t play in leagues of other countries even as the IPL wants a galaxy of stars from all over the globe.

IPL expansion: Good or bad?

To ask the basic question, is the IPL expansion good or bad? The answer is not as simple. There are two varied views to it. One side says that this is the way ahead. Cricket must follow the path of football, where league tournaments are as important as national games. However, there is one major difference here. And this is where the second party has a stronger counter opinion. A football game ends in 90 minutes barring some extra time added in case of no result and factoring time lost due to injury or other issues. That’s it. In the case of cricket, players don’t just have to take part in T20 matches but also in 50-over contests. And, if you are an all-format player, in Tests as well.

It is no secret that since the franchises have invested much money into their respective teams, they would want the best talent. Thus, they would push extra hard to ensure top players are available for all the games. Of course, if the reports of the expanded IPL are true, not much international cricket would be played in that duration. This will be a clear indication that the ICC has given in to the might of the BCCI. After all, as per the reports, England and Australia have been granted home windows for the Hundred and the BBL, which means they will have to make space for their respective leagues by sacrificing their own international assignments.

There is no denying that T20 leagues are the future of cricket, and nothing can stop their growth. At the same time, the BCCI cannot allow an imbalance to be created where the majority of the focus is solely on the T20 league. Although football has its share of popular leagues, the beautiful game’s popularity hasn’t diminished in the World Cups. This might not be the case with cricket, in any case. Let’s consider that the IPL will be played over two and a half months and that other leagues will be played at different times of the year. A number of these players would feature in international cricket in various formats of the game. How much interest will be left among the fans and cricketers themselves regarding the ICC events?

A catch-22 situation for BCCI

Another intriguing development has taken place in recent times. The six teams in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) upcoming T20 league have all been purchased by IPL franchise owners. IPL owners already have their presence in the CPL. The owners of Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Delhi Capitals have also bought teams in the UAE T20 tournament, which will begin in 2023. 

The IPL franchises would want their best players, including Indians, to feature in the upcoming T20 leagues in which they have invested heavily. So will the BCCI bend its rules and allow its players to participate in overseas leagues? All said and done, while the BCCI does have the might, it is equally important that they also have foresight, which will benefit the game at the end of the day.

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