A Southern Hemisphere, IPL-style Twenty20 competition is currently being explored by New Zealand Cricket and the national cricket boards of Australia and South Africa.
NZC Chief Executive, Justin Vaughan, unveiled the new concept in New Zealand following discussions with his counterparts in Australia and South Africa, who are discussing the development a regional Twenty20 contest built on city-based, franchise-owned teams by 2011.
While planning is still at a concept stage, it is based on having a number of franchises in an Africa-centred eastern conference and a similar western conference with an Australasian focus, with the top teams from each conference meeting for the finals. Timing would complement IPL timing, creating opportunity for Indian players to participate
“The success of the inaugural IPL season in India is an indication of the demand for regional Twenty20 competitions played at a level immediately below international cricket,” Vaughan said.
“Gathering a large number of the world’s marquee players into a single competition over a compressed timeframe can capture the public imagination and create new audiences for cricket.
“The challenge for the three southern hemisphere boards is to create the stage for that opportunity to be captured in a way which complements international cricket,” he said.
Existing domestic and regional Twenty20 cricket competitions have proven the strategic and commercial benefits of delivering compelling short-form cricket at the level below Test and One-Day International cricket.
Growing revenues, increased fan engagement and expanded opportunities for players have already been delivered by competitions such as the IPL and State Twenty20 cricket.
Successful regional-level Twenty20 cricket needs international stars but many players will also be domestic level cricketers who will have an opportunity to develop their skills, profiles and earning power.
Long-term, regional-level Twenty20 could be a format which helps cement cricket as the world’s second biggest sport and fuel the development of a bigger pool of elite cricketers, making cricket a more attractive career option for young gifted athletes.
Mr Vaughan said he was pleased with preliminary NZ Cricket Players Association support for the new concept and will continue to work with the NZCPA as the new competition is progressed.
Heath Mills, Executive Manager of the NZCPA said “Although the competition is still at a conceptual stage we are excited by its potential for cricket and our players. We look forward to working with NZC and the other stakeholders to realise a Twenty 20 competition in the southern hemisphere that compliments the growth of this form of the game in India. “
Further information: John Durning, Acting Public Affairs Manager, NZC, ph 021-531-194; Health Mills 021-289-0092