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Face-off

Face-off
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First Published: Mon, Sep 03 2007. 12 39 AM IST

Lalit Modi, Vice-president, Board of Control for Cricket in India
Lalit Modi, Vice-president, Board of Control for Cricket in India
Updated: Mon, Sep 03 2007. 12 39 AM IST
Lalit Modi, Vice-president, Board of Control for Cricket in India
Does BCCI consider the Indian Cricket League to be a threat?
We never said ICL is a threat. At the most, it is like a Bucchi Babu tournament (a private tournament, organized in Chennai and recognized by BCCI). There is no competition. We have no problem with ICL.
Then, why are you opposing it?
Lalit Modi, Vice-president, Board of Control for Cricket in India
We have spent a lot of money, and a lot of effort, developing talent. Our business is not business, our business is harnessing cricket. Companies such as Essel and ILF&S—they are doing this for personal gain, not to develop cricket. ILF&S’ mandate is not charity, its mandate is to make a profit. Their actual intention is to get star players. They’re not giving anything to it, but are taking away from the game. We made a profit for the first time only last year, we keep nothing for ourselves, everything goes to the players, back into the system.
Why did you impose a ban on players joining ICL?
We wanted to tell players where ICL stands. Nobody is questioning how they (Essel and ILF&S) are going to run the league. You need modern stadiums, trained groundsmen, players’ facilities, spectators’ facilities, etc. They (ICL) say they’ll spend Rs100 crore (on infrastucture). BCCI last year spent Rs190 crore in renovating stadiums. You can’t build a stadium with Rs100 crore.
ICL says railway stadiums will be used—these have no lights or modern ground equipment. This (ICL) is only for television, as they have no (cricket) rights… ESPN has ICC rights, Nimbus has BCCI rights. It is good players are making money, but this is not the only option for them. Where do they go from here?
You have to market yourself better now, your costs will go up…
We don’t need to. All our products are globally known, our costs won’t go up.
Himangshu Mody, business head, Indian Cricket League
Your critics say ICL is not looking at developing cricket, that it is mercenary. Your comments.
We are developing cricket. It’s very simple…in any game or business, if you develop talent and make money, what is wrong with it?
Himangshu Mody, business head, Indian Cricket League
Take (for instance) our programme Sa Re Ga Ma(on Zee TV). Every year, we throw up talent, give Bollywood three or four playback singers. And, yes, we make money. We are not a charitable organization, I don’t see what is wrong with it…if we develop talent. I thought even BCCI was making money or, at least, it’s supposed to.
If BCCI readmits the banned players, how would it affect ICL?
I’ll be happy if our players play in our league and also play for Team India. We want our players to play for India. (As for weakening), there’s no dearth of talent or players in India. My case is, let players play for both the league and India. And, no, I don’t see a players’ exodus (from ICL, in case the ban on them is lifted) happening. It’s not going to happen.
What about infrastructure? Do you plan to renovate railway stadiums?
We are still evaluating our options (about stadiums). Yes, you are right, if we do go for the railways stadium, there will be some renovations required. Our architects will take a look at that (aspect), but we don’t know what sort of renovation, to what extent. Our structural team is studying this and we’ll take a call on this later.
The International Cricket Council has refused to recognize ICL if BCCI doesn’t. Will this keep sponsors away from your league?
No, I don’t think ICC’s stand will impact sponsors’ interest in our league in any manner.
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First Published: Mon, Sep 03 2007. 12 39 AM IST