Indian Cricket League

An upstart cricket league is launching in India today (thanks, Brij01), the Indian Cricket League. I know very little about cricket, but I know good marketing when I see it:

There are six teams: Kolkata Tigers, Mumbai Champs, Delhi Jets, Chandigarh Lions, Hyderabad Heroes, and Chennai Superstars. Each team has a number of players from the local city or region, two players from the national team, and a smattering of foreign players. They’re using the Twenty20 format, which means games will last just about three hours.

Speaking again as a cricket neophyte, I think it’s a great idea — the short games, regional flavor, and general non-stodginess might finally be enough to get someone like myself interested in cricket.

Of course, the quality of play has to be good for it to work. And they’ll have tough competition from another new league starting in April, the Indian Premier League (which is sponsored by the BCCI, and has many more star players than does the ICL). Do cricket fans think the ICL has a chance? Are you excited about this?

(Oh, and I forgot to mention: they have scantily-clad cheerleaders; more smart marketing, or a bit sleazy? Perhaps both at once…)

99 thoughts on “Indian Cricket League

  1. would have been nice if the team names had some connection to the cities they were representing. tigers make sence causeof “bengal tigers” and all that. what about the other ones? delhi jets? huh?

    once your a jatt your a jatt….[to the tune of west side story]

  2. (Oh, and I forgot to mention: they have scantily-clad cheerleaders; more smart marketing, or a bit sleazy? Perhaps both at once…)

    why are all the cheerleaders whyte chyx? thats a little confusing. i wanted to see scantily clad brown grls…

  3. I dont think ICL has a chance because IPL will eat them alive. BCCI wants to have the monopoly and is telling that if they sign with ICL, they wont be able to ever play for ICC again. Plus, BCCI is not letting this new league play in any of their stadiums. Its tough times ahead. But its good for the game…esp with Halftime shows ;)

  4. what about the other ones?

    Chandigarh’s team name makes sense in the context of Sikhism…

  5. the crowd for the match was surprisingly decent, considering there had been talk of sponsors pulling out beforehand. will be interesting to see what the tv viewership was, because the second india-pakistan test also started on friday (albeit it finished before the icl match started), with some sublime strokeplay by wasim jaffer on display. t20 is fast and furious and a nice easy way to catch a cricket match, but nothing beats test cricket. but t20 is a good way to ease other countries into cricket (and cricinfo’s beyond the test world blog shows that cricket is being played around the world in some completely unexpected places).

    the bcci and other boards have done their utmost to crush the ICL, which is a bit churlish because many of these guys – the indian ones – will likely never play for india again or in the first place. some of the internationals didn’t really spark today, but they are a draw. especially brian lara of the mumbai champs, who, along with inzamam ul haq, is the biggest star. it didn’t have anywhere near the excitement in the air of a match involving india, but it was not bad. the quality of the cricket wasn’t the greatest but wasn’t totally hopeless either. but the real test will be when the ipl starts and the “real” stars compete. however, the ipl will be at a different time of the year. depends on the crowd’s stomach for too much T20. this is a good move – the bcci needs some competition. but they need to ditch the cheerleaders or improve their quality. it looks a bit silly after awhile. for some reason the crowds in india haven’t really taken to the cheerleaders that much, even when they do dance to bollywood songs (but not that well at all). they were a bigger hit at the t20 world championship in south africa.

  6. Puliogre in da USA on November 30, 2007 01:32 PM · Direct link (Oh, and I forgot to mention: they have scantily-clad cheerleaders; more smart marketing, or a bit sleazy? Perhaps both at once…) why are all the cheerleaders whyte chyx? thats a little confusing. i wanted to see scantily clad brown grls…

    The photograph is from the recent T20 (Twenty-20) world cup held in South Africa. For the uninitiated, the finals was between India and Pakistan that India won. A side note, all this ICl / IPL tussle started with that “World Cup” win. I can only hope that it helps domestic cricket players get the required exposure of playing with top cricketers (even if they have retired from the International level).

  7. thast dissapointing. you would expact that link to link to desi grls in cheerleader outfits. i think thats an excellent idea. sleazy, yes. but good for me. i might be willing to shell out for a sattelite channel just for that.

  8. Do cricket fans think the ICL has a chance? Are you excited about this?

    I am skeptical. I have always been so, because with the likes of Kapil Paaji on board, there was the risk that this was going to be an exercise of the “all talk, no substance” kind.

    The parallels with the Packer circus are hard to miss. They don’t seem to have access to the bigger grounds and the colored clothing? Ugghhh! Pink for the dark, manly, mustachioed machis from Chennai? WTF! Though I think the free swinging West Indians wore pink during the inaugural Packer tournaments, so I guess its a good trend to follow.

    Okie, I digress. To me, the parallels with Packer stop right there. Packergate was a hush hush affair to recruit the then current superstars. And it succeeded because the whole thing was sprung on the establishment without warning. Here they were talking even before they had the pieces in place, giving the Old Boys Club in the BCCI enough time to clamp down on any dissent. So now, the ICL is full of “has beens” and “would have beens”.

    As for the IPL, that is a bigger case of bluster. With all the ODI and Test cricket happening in the world (plus the T20 internationals) how are they going to get the current players to play? Seriously, do they expect them to take the field without a protest just because they are throwing money? I don’t know.

    Actually, let me play Devil’s Advocate now. Before today, it was a case of “let’s see who blinks first and backs down”. But the ICL just took off and going by first accounts, it was a decent game. Now the onus is on the BCCI to get the IPL going with the star power that they promised. But to be honest, I want the IPL to fail. Maybe this new competition will make the BCCI accountable to the stakeholders, i.e. the players and the fans.

  9. 12 · Puliogre in da USA on November 30, 2007 01:57 PM · Direct link

    thast dissapointing. you would expact that link to link to desi grls in cheerleader outfits. i think thats an excellent idea. sleazy, yes. but good for me. i might be willing to shell out for a sattelite channel just for that.

    Well look around and you’ll find sorta like it …

    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070925/sp.jpg

  10. Since we’re on the topic of cheerleaders I fail to understand the need for cheerleaders in a relatively docile sport like cricket. In games like (American) football and basketball, where ball possessions change frequently cheerleaders serve the purpose of firing up the crowd when the team they support is on defense. In cricket where a side bats for 20 overs, 50 overs or 3 days, I don’t understand how a cheerleader can keep the crowd fired up for that long. That being said, as a red blooded desi man, I welcome this new innovation to the game of cricket.

  11. A side note, all this ICl / IPL tussle started with that “World Cup” win. I can only hope that it helps domestic cricket players get the required exposure of playing with top cricketers (even if they have retired from the International level).

    Srinivas, the ICL is at least 6 months old now. It was announced in April. First the BCCI/ICC was silent and then threatened to ban the players who signed up and then jumped to start its own league.

  12. change frequently cheerleaders serve the purpose of firing up the crowd when the team they support is on defense.

    err..i guess during slow moments guys can always watch young nubile grls in short skirts jump around and yell “rah,rah,rah!”. i think golf needs cheerleaders too.

  13. In cricket where a side bats for 20 overs, 50 overs or 3 days, I don’t understand how a cheerleader can keep the crowd fired up for that long. That being said, as a red blooded desi man, I welcome this new innovation to the game of cricket.

    Santosh: Actually considering that a normal over rate in a cricket game is about 12 or 13, a T20 game gets over in 3 hrs at the max, which is VERY comparable to a NFL game, no? And the crowd participation in a cricket game, particularly in the shorter versions has always been good, even in the otherwise staid UK and NZ. So I think cheerleading will work in T20.

  14. Am I the only one who noticed that the Chennai ad is the only one in English?

    Yes, though I thought there were at least a couple of words in Tamil? (After the player/hero says, “Tails”…)

    Though I did notice that the Chennai Superstars are the only ones with an English slogan (“Anything is possible”). I guess they’re trying to balance local appeal (which means, no Hindi) with a desire to maintain a national/international viewing audience on ZeeTV (which means, Tamil/Tamizh might be too provincial).

  15. Am I the only one who noticed that the Chennai ad is the only one in English?

    Paruthiveeran: Of course not. I saw this ad about a week ago and I noticed it too. But I immediately understood why. Everyone knows that “Engleesh is a phunny laanguayage” :D

    Needless to say that a lot of people have told me that this IS the funniest (and universally understood too) of the lot.

    “Staaaap! Wheare you vaant it? Release! Jujubeeee!” :D

  16. from what i could tell, most, if not all, the cheerleaders for the lions-jets match were non-indian. same with the ones for the india-australia t20 match in mumbai several weeks ago. and one of those groups looked like the bcci had plucked some tourists off the street, given them an hour of instruction and asked them to dance. they were that bad (but i think i read they had been specially flown in). i think despite bollywood and all the dances they do for the screen and for stage shows, there seems to be some hesitation to dance in front of/quite close to potentially rowdy sports fans in a stadium. may be wrong, perhaps we’ll see more indian cheerleaders as t20 takes off.

    “Am I the only one who noticed that the Chennai ad is the only one in English?”

    i wondered about that too. i think it’s for the benefit of the those in the north. however, since none of the other ads are dubbed, it seems they assume that everyone understands punjabi, bengali, marathi but not tamil. i wonder if the ads were dubbed for the south?

  17. Am I the only one who noticed that the Chennai ad is the only one in English?

    Yes, though I thought there were at least a couple of words in Tamil? (After the player/hero says, “Tails”…)

    No, he actually only says “Batting” though with a heavy Tam accent :) It’s true, the only non-English word (sort of) is “jujube” which in Madras Tamil means insignificant, or something like that. See here for the full definition.

  18. “Pink for the dark, manly, mustachioed machis from Chennai? “

    i think that’s just for the ad, given that it’s a spoof of movies. the chennai superstars uniform appears to resemble the windies uniform, some sort of maroon and yellow combo.

    as for the cheerleaders, in the t20 game they only get up and dance after a four or six is hit, for the most part. they were exhausted in south africa when yuvraj hit six sixes in a row:) but i think cheerleaders should be confined to t20 only, where they at least make some sense.

    “how are they going to get the current players to play? Seriously, do they expect them to take the field without a protest just because they are throwing money? I don’t know.”

    well the never-shy-to-express-an-opinion ricky ponting, who complained after losing in south africa that there shouldn’t be too many t20s added to the schedule, has apparently signed on for the ipl as have other aussies and major indian stars. money talks:)

  19. well the never-shy-to-express-an-opinion ricky ponting, who complained after losing in south africa that there shouldn’t be too many t20s added to the schedule, has apparently signed on for the ipl as have other aussies and major indian stars. money talks:)

    Whose God is it anyways: Well, I thought of that. But what can the IPL do if the player decides to stay away later citing family business or say, injury? I mean, I have a faint idea that boards like Cricket Australia will publicly make sounds supporting the BCCI now and when push comes to shove, will collude with their players and inform the BCCI of the said player’s inability to play because of reason X or reason Y.

    IMHO, the BCCI has no grounds to sue, unless the players backs off from the IPL and goes ahead and plays for his local team. So, Ponting takes the money now and signs on and when time comes to board the flight to the erstwhile Final Frontier, he can conveniently miss the flight and rest at home. If I were Ponting, I’d look to do that ;)

    And btw, I don’t expect the IPL to succeed because player burnout is a huge thing that cricket’s governing boards (apart from the ad hoc organizations like the BCCI) take seriously. I doubt whether they’d force their own players to dance to the BCCI’s tune.

  20. Am I the only one who noticed that the Chennai ad is the only one in English?

    Well that and the ad’s for the other teams were, well… blah. This one was funny.

  21. Well that and the ad’s for the other teams were, well… blah. This one was funny.

    I loved the way he says “jujube”.. is it just me, or does he look a leetle bit like Prabhu Deva?

  22. anantha, let him who underestimates the bcci do so at their own peril:) the ipl, though primarily a bcci project, has the full backing of Cricket Australia. look at the stars who have signed on so far:Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Mathew Hayden, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Jason Gillespie and Cameron White. Also: Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Glenn McGrath of Australia, New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming and Daniel Vettori, Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya and Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa. completely outshines the icl in terms of star power. the prize money for the team that wins is 2.5 million pounds. that’s a lot for cricket – equivalent, i think, to the 5 million that american millionaire stanford put up for the windies t20 championship. eight franchises (including possibly two sri lankan ones), possible interest from russel crowe in buying a team, and the bcci’s advantage in already having several grounds at their disposal. also given that india is the money in world cricket, many of these cricketers will look to the t20 as a lucrative source of income as they either wind down their careers or after they’ve retired from international cricket. also, it exposes them to the indian public and allows them to make more money in india doing tv ads etc.

    plus this being the bcci, i don’t think they’ll allow any of the players to renege from their contract without serious consequences. mohammed yousuf is facing a hearing for reneging on the icl to go back to playing for pakistan. i don’t think the bcci will be less stringent in that regard. the one board that fears the ipl most is not cricket australia, which is a willing partner, but the english county system, which could lose several potential overseas players to the ipl, which will cut into english country cricket season. the negativity (and probably a little jealousy) in some of the english press over india’s t20 expansion plans has been a bit funny given that england sort of pioneered the popularity of the t20 format.

  23. mohammed yousuf is facing a hearing for reneging on the icl to go back to playing for pakistan.

    Exactly. But what if he had begged off saying he had a family committment or say “jaundice” and backed it up with a doctor’s certificate. Could the BCCI do anything about that? You can bring the horse to the water, but can you make it drink? Or something like that :)

    Regardless of what you say about CA being a willing ally to the BCCI, I think most of the other boards are wary about the Asian Bloc and I think will go to great lengths to sabotage any BCCI attempt to monetize the game any more than it is. But they can’t obviously do it upfront. So all the wheeling dealing will be in the back end. Besides, we haven’t seen anything yet.

    I think it’s in the best interest of every international player to agree up front to sign the BCCI contract and worry about things later. My bet is on some or most of these players begging off later with the tacit support of their boards.

  24. Love it..Love it..The Chennai Ad captures the chennai humour so well..”The Madness is Soooper I Say” I just cant digest the color of the jersey..Pink..Whatever..Next time you see a desi guy wearing a pink chennai jersey in philly..make sure to stop me and say Suppah Machi!!

    G

  25. I love the way he picks after the toss. “Biting”. But the voice in the ad doesn’t sound like that of a Chennaiite. Possibly someone from AP (Hyderabad) or Mumbai/Delhi dude.

  26. I love the way he picks after the toss. “Biting”.

    I particularly love the guy on the non-strikers end, who is wearing dark glasses and grinning away to glory as the ball “staaaps” in mid air. :D

  27. Since I don’t anything about cricket, maybe someone can help me out. So before this ICL, India did not have cricket league like the NFL or NBA which had a team every major city. So how did India team find it players.

  28. “I think it’s in the best interest of every international player to agree up front to sign the BCCI contract and worry about things later. My bet is on some or most of these players begging off later with the tacit support of their boards.”

    but you make it sound as if the bcci is arm-twisting or forcing people/boards to accept the IPL. the ipl has the official backing of the ICC. major stars will make 150,000 pounds for six weeks. i don’t think you have to arm-twist anyone into that. the reason mohammed yousuf reneged was because by playing in the icl he was risking his future as a player for pakistan’s national team. those who play in the ipl face so such threat. why wouldn’t they want to play and make such easy money in a sport where you can be dropped from your national team at any minute due to injury, poor form? and i’m sure this league will benefit the coffers of the icc and the other boards as well, otherwise they wouldn’t back it.

    i think it’s a bit unfair when people talk about the “asian bloc” as if it’s this sinister, philistine, money-hungry, corrupt group that’s going to ruin the “beautiful” game, unlike the western bloc or non-asian bloc, whose leaders england, australia safeguarded all the cherished/noble traditions without a dollar-sign/prejudice in their eyes. i don’t think india can teach anything about greed to officials/players/fans in england, a country that produced the east india company:) to think that when they had more power, before the increasing influence of the asian bloc, they were not venal at times, greedy, corrupt, inefficient, is naive. the bcci has many, many faults (and its vendetta against the icl is a major one), but it has managed to make cricket hugely popular via odi cricket (dismissed initially as pajama cricket), has managed to infuse huge amounts of cash into world cricket, cash which those who sniff about “vulgar money” and “ruining cricket” seem to have no problem taking the minute it’s waved under their noses. most boards know a series against india will more than likely enrich them.

    the english cricket board, a few years ago, didn’t want its team to tour zimbabwe because it felt the zimbabwe cricket board was corrupt and reprsented mugabe. so zimbabwe lost money. but the same ecb had no problem allowing the same zimbabwe team, which still represented mugabe, to come to england and play, so that the ecb wouldn’t lose out financially. i wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the commentators who have criticized the bcci and the ipl for being greedy and for potentially ruining world cricket turn up in india next year to do commentary on the league for a handsome fee:)

  29. “So how did India team find it players.”

    primarily from domestic tournaments like ranji trophy and duleep trophy, where they represent their city, states and zones. school cricket too.

  30. i’m kinda late on this, and whose god has covered all the important points (great bits of analysis, by the way); one possible way of resolving the ICL-IPL dispute is to turn them both into “official” leagues and have a “world series” pitting the winners of each league against the other; but as whose god perceptively noted, this is unlikely to hapen since the BCCI holds all the cards (and has overwhelming bargaining power).

  31. BCCI is the richest cricket board in the world and has all the charming qualities of Steinbrenner, Comiskey and Tony Soprano. I hope ICL shakes things up. If they make money, BCCI will have to play ball. Also, meet Manish Arora, the man behind clown outfits.

  32. BCCI is the richest cricket board in the world and has all the charming qualities of Steinbrenner, Comiskey and Tony Soprano.

    But thankfully, none of the Gotham-style charm of Jimmy Dolan.

    I encourage everyone to browse the ‘player profile’ pages on the ICL website. The int’ls and more well known domestic players did not want to play, but some of them are classics.

    On a more serious note, it was really heartening to see high-schoolers, long-suffering brothers of internationals and well-known international players all playing on the same field. The BCCI just doesn’t have the wherewithal to provide proper trainers, facilities, nutrition and coaching to the innumerable domestic players who plug away in the hopes of being selected.

  33. BTW I’m such a noob that none of my links were separated, but pass the cursor over, “them are classics” and there’s a unique link in each word.

    also, is “Lavania” just a translation of “Lasagna” or is it it’s own dish?

  34. “Also, meet Manish Arora, the man behind clown outfits.”

    egads! the chennai one really is pink in this photo. but in the current ads on zee, the players are wearing maroon/green. wonder which one will make an appearance? at least in this department the bcci can only go one up… one hopes!

  35. Was I the only one to notice they flipped a THAI ten baht coin at the start of that chennai ad?

  36. Since I don’t anything about cricket, maybe someone can help me out. So before this ICL, India did not have cricket league like the NFL or NBA which had a team every major city. So how did India team find it players.

    clueless, there was one orgnaization BCCI which used to select a “single national team” from various states based on some how players perform in inter-regional matches. Regional teams were based on geographical zones of the country.

  37. Was I the only one to notice they flipped a THAI ten baht coin at the start of that chennai ad?

    thaidesi,though i don’t recognize thai currency, if you are right..too good. you have a pretty observant eye !

  38. Was I the only one to notice they flipped a THAI ten baht coin at the start of that chennai ad?

    That wasn’t an Indian coin, plus it did look like the thai king, don’t know the denomination.