Lalit Modi’s no to ECB’s conditional support

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) may have agreed to grant the money-spinning Twenty20 wheel–the Indian Premier League (IPL)–its last missing spoke by increasing the window for its cricketers from two weeks to three. However, that consent alone won’t be enough to ensure its players’ participation in the tournament beginning April.

Should ECB attach any condition, whatsoever, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will just not agree.

IPL chairman Lalit Modi was relieved when Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), told media of ECB’s plans to extend the window on Thursday evening.

“It’s a step in the positive direction,” Modi said, explaining how England’s rich history in the game and the multi-ethnic culture there will add to the show.

Yet, in the same breath, Modi insisted that ECB would have to sort out a few issues before a formal agreement is drawn between the two boards.

“The ECB will need to keep in mind that the BCCI is not going to agree to any conditions. There can’t be any conditions. England has to first agree to give unconditional support to the IPL like all boards have,” Modi said.

The ECB, it is no secret, has plans to unveil its own English Premier League (EPL) on the lines of IPL in the next couple of years for which the participation of top Indian cricketers will be required. That aside, ECB also spoke of plans to conduct its own version of the Champions League, where Indian teams would certainly be top draws.

Modi, however, says, “It cannot be a quid pro quo type of a situation. For so many years, our players have been happily taking part in the English county. This cannot be treated as any mutual obligation. Modi says the BCCI does understand England’s need to safeguard their own interests. “Everybody needs to protect their season, which is fair enough.

“But again,” he adds, “that cannot be a hindrance to the ECB agreeing to the IPL like all other boards have. Either you’re a part of it or you’re not.”

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