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ICC chairman expects bilateral series to be “squeezed” with longer duration for leagues like IPL

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The IPL 2022 season featured 10 teams | BCCI/IPLWith the window for T20 leagues like the IPL keeps getting longer, the bilateral series between international teams may get “squeezed” going forward, ICC Chairman Greg Barclay stated on Friday (May 27).

This year, the Indian Premier League added two new franchises and the number of matches was expanded to 74 over a two-month window as compared to 60 games last season.

“It is a good question. There will be an increase in both the scoping scale of some of the domestic leagues like the IPL and possibly some of the others and there will be new leagues,” Barclay told PTI when asked how one strikes a balance between the IPL and the international calendar.

“But they are the sovereign domain of the members, the domestic competitions, they can run as they choose to. But more events, and longer time periods through those events mean there is going to be squeeze, we know there are only 365 days a year…

“So if there are more domestic leagues, that are attracted to the players, so something has to go and I don’t think ICC events, which are there every year, and those events have got more teams, so they are going to take longer, so the bit that gets squeezed are the bilateral arrangements,” he added.

The ICC Chairman, however, had special praise reserved for the IPL.

“First thing I would say after two years of not being able to travel, it is great to be back in India. And great to have my first trip back with the IPL – the semis and the final coming up.

“So, I love the IPL, it is a great competition and I think India and the BCCI have done something quite wonderful with cricket. It is a spectacle that I am honoured to be able to go along and watch and kind of be a part of. Credit to the country,” he said.

The ICC will release the tender for the media rights after the IPL rights for 2024-2031 cycle.

“Well, from an expectation point of view, I am quite excited that there is interest in the rights. I think there are some very very credible parties, parties that I think the ICC will be able to work with and they all will be able to contribute positively to the growth of cricket,” he said.

“Our process is not the same as the BCCI’s. We have got the process that we have got strong capability internally, we have taken external advice as well, so I am comfortable that the way we are approaching the tendering of media rights is probably the best process for the ICC at the moment.

“It is an exciting time to be involved in cricket, there is a lot of interest in our sport, a lot of potential both to grow in new markets, existing markets, and particularly so around the women’s game, that is hugely exciting.

“So my expectations are that there will be a lot of interest generated out of this process,” he added when asked whether the ICC was looking at staggering the process for TV and Digital rights like the BCCI.

The apex body has given the hosting rights of the 2025 Champions Trophy to Pakistan and Barclay defended the decision.

“Geo-political events are well beyond my (control). There is a risk that India may not be able to participate in that event but hopefully we won’t have to confront that issue when it comes along.

“…and Pakistan part is important because teams are fortunately going back there now and it is an important place of growth. It was a deliberate strategy to put that event in Pakistan,” he concluded.

(With PTI inputs)

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