Monday, April 7, 2008

Long Live the ICL!

After the Lahore Badshahs won their first match of the ICL Edelweiss 20s Challenge, I mentioned elsewhere that knowing the Pakistani players I wouldn't be surprised to see them reaching the final undefeated and then losing it. That is exactly how ICL's 2nd edition ended last night.

I think I said it on Soulberry's blog or it could have been on Ottayan's. I tried looking for it but couldn't find it. (SB & OTT, can you help?)

The Hyderabad Heroes beat the Lahore Badshahs twice in 3 days to clinch the best of 3 finals and the ICL Trophy.
Both the finals were intense close games. The first one saw the Heroes winning by a narrow margin of 6 runs with Abdul Razzak's 3-18 restricting the Badshahs to 137 while chasing a target of 144.
The 2nd one was even closer. The match ended in a tie. Defending 130, the Badshahs did well on the back of Rana Naved's 5-22, who took the last 2 wickets in the final over of the Heroes' innings to help tie the game.
The match was then decided by a bowl out, which the Heroes won 3-0. All the Lahoris missed the stumps! Anyone remember the 20-20WC group match between Pakistan and India?
Abdul Razzak was declared player of the series for his outstanding all round performance in the tournament - He finished as the highest wicket taker of the tournament with 18 from 10 matches at 13.38 apiece. Add to that his 183 at 22.87 and he displayed what the international Pakistan team has been missing. Its also a boot to the face of the selectors that dropped him from the 20-20 World Cup Squad last year.
The Badshahs took the the ICL by storm and were huge crowd pullers. Inzamam led the team with passion and the energy displayed by the players on the field was something one doesn't see in a typical Pakistan side. They definitely improved the standard of the tournament, which augurs well for the ICL's future.
There are talks doing the rounds that the next tournament could see similar sides from Sri Lanka, South Africa, and New Zealand. There are also reports that the ICL is considering adding a 4-day competition and a 50-50 competition to their annual calendar of events.
If that happens the ICL may as well be operating as the largest competitor to the ICC rather than one to the IPL or the BCCI.
The tournament has been a success, the crowds have been entertained, TV coverage has been lapped up in India and in a big way in Pakistan, and the ICL seems to have firmed its footing in the cricketing world despite all the barriers that were thrown at it. The only complaint I have is that TV coverage is not extended to the Middle East, but I guess with time that will also happen.
Sidharth Monga on Cricinfo questions whether anyone will watch the ICL once the IPL takes off. And also if the Indian market has room for two 20-20 leagues. With the cricket craving population of over a billion I think India has room for 10 such leagues! Ok maybe 5.
Mr. Monga, ICL's 2nd edition is over and its next tournament that kicks off on 9th April will be over on the 15th, a few days before the IPL kicks off. The ICL has ensured that they don't clash with their competition and smartly so.

This brings me to ICL's next tournament which starts in 2 days. Its called the ICL 20s World Series and is a triangular tournament between ICL India, ICL Pakistan, and ICL World.
I tell you the ICL keeps getting bigger and better!!
ICL Pakistan will be captained by Inzamam Ul Haq and coached by Moin Khan. It will comprise of the Badshahs' team members joined by Abdul Razzak and Shabbir Ahmed.
ICL World will be captained by Chris Carins and coached by John Emburey. The team will comprise of the galaxy of international stars on the ICL roster including Damien Martyn, Marvan Atapattu, Nathan Astle, Micheal Bevan, Craig McMillan, Lance Klusener, Chris Harris, Ian Harvey, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Adam Parore, Jason Gillespie, Shane Bond, and Micheal Kasprowicz among others.
ICL India will be coached by Steve Rixon and the team will be announced soon. It will be comprise of the best performers of the just concluded ICL Edelweiss 20s Challenge.
The ICL 20s World Series promises even more entertainment from the ICL. Each team will play the other twice in the league stage and then the top 2 will contest the final on 15th April.
Smartly planned and scheduled right before the IPL.
In a way the ICL has also helped the IPL. It has generated such wide interest from the public that will just spill over to the IPL with non stop 20-20 action for viewers. So Mr. Monga, I think India has enough appetitie for 2 such leagues, and as I said maybe enough for 5 such leagues as well.
Long Live the ICL!
Subhash Chandra, Kapil Dev, and all of you at Zee and the ICL board take a bow.

Make your pitch on this post...

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17 Pitched:

  1. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Q - while reading this, was thinking about the spillover from the ICL to the IPL -and just then you mentioned it! Talk of coincidences.
    Re: Badshah's defeat, and Razzaq's rise - does it prove that Pakistanis are their own worst enemies?! :)

  2. Anonymous said...

    cric info have just announced the teams for the ICL world series. there is no razzaq in the pak team. do you know why?

  3. Q said...

    Thats an interesting thought NC.. but it is actually true - we are our own worst enemies ;-)

    Anonymous - I have no idea why Razzak is not in there. Even Azhar Mahmood, Mushtaq Ahmed, and Saqlain are missing. No idea why. I had heard that it would have been the Badshahs squad plus Razzak and Shabbir.

    Maybe the ICL wanted a slightly weaker Pak side to make it more competitive...

    More than that I was surprised at the absence of Ambati Rayudu from the India squad. He plaed a crucial role in both the finals for the Heroes and is a very promising talent.

  4. Anonymous said...

    yeah there is no shane bond or lance kluesner in the world team either. it's surprising, by not adding these players it detratcs from the spectacle.

    i think mushtaq and saqlain have got county committments, hence the reason why they arent playing

    i like the icl, i watched most of the games this year. but there a few things they could improve, like the umpiring, it hasn't been the best.

  5. Q said...

    Rana Naved also has country commitments but hes in the squad so I dont think thats the reason.

    The tournament is only for a week - 9th to 15th, I dont think there are any county matches during this week.

    I think the absence of bond, klusener, martyn, mahmood, razzak is more to do with the ICL wanting to make it more competitive and giving the Indian domestic stars more of a realistic chance...

  6. Anonymous said...

    maybe.... but dont you think it is less of a spectacle without bond, kluesner, razzaq etc....

    at the end of the day bond is icl's star attraction, they did pay well over $800,000 to obtain his services.

    I think the indian team could have coped. Anyway the pak team doesnt look that brilliant. 20/20 is all about the spinners, and they taken two of theirs away.

    anyway do you know why saqlain wasn't playing in the latter badshah mathces????

  7. Q said...

    Yes I agree that its less of a spectacle without Bond, Klusener, and Razzak. Not sure why they did this though. Maybe the players wnated to go back to their families before heading to the counties.

    Arshad Khan is there as the spinner in Pak team.

    I didnt hear of any injuries to Saqlain. I think Inzi gave saqlain 2 matches and then gave Mushy a couple. Mushy did well so Inzi persisted with him. It was difficult to fit both of them in the XI.

  8. Anonymous said...

    personally speaking, i think the badshahs missed a trick in the finals. you could see how the slower bowlers in the heroes side had a significant impact on the game. i think they lost it going in with only mushy. i dont see the need of playing four fast bowlers. i think they could have dropped sami, ive never rated him.

  9. Q said...

    Thats true Anon - Saqlain should have played instead of Sami or Shahid Nazir. Maybe he was injured, im not sure.

    I didn't pay attention to the fact that the Badshahs played 5 bowlers in the finals. In the group games they had gone in with 4 bowlers mostly. So why the change in tactic. Typical Pakistan.

  10. Anonymous said...

    i wish there was more upto date coverage of the icl.... there is a lack of info, even from its official website.

    im hooked on the icl, even though the ipl will better, i dont like what they ipl/bcci did to the icl. for that reason i won't be watching the ipl. also, there isn't a team that i can support in the ipl. at least we have the lahore badshahs in the icl. whoever came up with that concept is a genius.

  11. Q said...

    Anon - I agree the media coverage of the ICL is quite pathetic. Cricinfo covers a bit and their website as well but it should be more. Also the matched are being shown only in India and Pakistan - they should be covering more territories esp the likes of UAE, Malaysia, England where the Indian and Paki community is big.

    I dont have anything against the IPL. I think its a great concept and I will definitely be following it. I'm supporting the Kolkata Knight Riders - they seem to be the most exciting team.

    But I am totally against the BCCI for treating the ICL the way they have. Ideally I would like both the leagues to coexist.

  12. Anonymous said...

    ive just read on rediff that razzaq is in the team..... and there is prize money of rs 3.4 crore

    the icl is shown in the middle east. i was in dubai last week and watch few of the matches on show sports...

  13. Q said...

    Cricinfo reported no Razzak. Even the ICL Wesbite shows no Razzak so I think Rediff is wrong. (

    Show sports? whats that?

    Its shown on Zee Sports and those who have Dish TV in Dubai can watch it...but only those living in their own villas can have their own dish TV dishes... my building doesnt allow it.

  14. Anonymous said...

    show sports is a sports channel on satellite tv. i was staying with my mate in an apartment in dubai and he got it, no need for a villa.

    anyway you can always watch it on the net

  15. Q said...

    Hmm..I'll check it out anon..I think ur talking abt showtime sports?

    Dawn today is reporting that Razzak is in the ICL Pakistan squad, while Azhar Mahmood and Muhstaq have gone to England t report to their counties..

    I dont know which report to believe anymore..

  16. Anonymous said...

    yeah the international news says the same thing

    again, this is what is frustrating, the proper lack of information coming out of the ICL. but you cant blame the icl, they've been banned from whatever they do....

    today is an interesting day, ecb player registration is today and the biq question is whether the icl players will be allowed to sign up...

    did you watch the pak v bangla game.... no one turned up, the pcb has to get its act together, which includes not banning icl players from playing in pak.

  17. Q said...

    I watched the match. I don' think that an empty stadium is PCB's fault. I doubt many people would have turned up for a Pakistan vs Bangladesh match even if it was promoted heavily.

    Interest in cricket in Pakistan has decreased a lot in the last few years.

    PCB definitely needs to get its act together - ive talked abt the banned players and new Pakistani signatories to the ICL in a new post here.

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