Kolkata: The involvement of IPL franchises in ‘The Hundred’, an innovative league starting this July in England, looks like a non-starter - at least for now. A report in British media, saying that Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals have shown interest in picking up ‘‘25% stakes on offer’’ in The Hundred teams have been denied by well-placed sources in both franchises.
The report said the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has also offered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) a “slice of Asian television rights” to get the glamour boys of world cricket such as Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant, among others, to play in The Hundred.
The talks between the BCCI and the ECB had started before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, said the report. It also said that when ECB chair Ian Watmore and CEO Tom Harrison visited Ahmedabad for the India-England pink ball Test last month, they discussed The Hundred with the BCCI officials.
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“It is understood the ECB is considering a number of potential partnership opportunities with India as they look to capitalise on a relationship with the game’s powerhouse that has never been stronger,” said the report, adding: “It is also expected that Indian players will be made available this summer for the women’s Hundred, potentially paving the way for the men to follow in 2022.”
When enquired by Gulf News, sources in both KKR and Royals said there had no valid offer on the table for them to consider it at the moment. ‘‘There is no such possibility in this season. More importantly, it would be a bigger news if the BCCI allows the likes of a Kohli or Bumrah to play in The Hundred for a percentage of Asian rights - which would be peanuts to the Indian board,’’ the sources said.
Sources felt that the names of these franchises have been thrown up as Manoj Badale, the London-based owner of Royals, and Venky Mysore, CEO and MD of Kolkata Knight Riders, had in the past said that they would explore if the opportunity to invest in The Hundred came their way. Badale has extensive business interests in the UK while the KKR owns a team in the Caribbean Premier League and both the managements harbour expansion dreams for the future.
The BCCI does not allow players to play in overseas T20 leagues. If an Indian cricketer wants to play in an overseas T20 franchise league, even for a team owned by an IPL franchise, he has to retire officially from Indian cricket, and inform the BCCI.
Pravin Tambe, who represented Rajasthan Royals, Gujarat Lions and SunRisers Hyderabad, had to quit Indian cricket to represent Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, even though the franchise is owned by Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Hundred will be played from July 22 to August 21 with the final slated at Lord’s, London.
The eight teams are: Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Northern Superchargers, Oval Invincibles, Southern Brave, Trent Rockets and Welsh Fire.
Each innings in a match will comprise 100 balls, where whoever scores the most runs wins. The fielding side changes ends after every 10 balls. Each bowler will deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls and can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game.