Lalit Modi urges ECB to revamp The Hundred for revenue boost

Central to Modi’s proposal is the establishment of a 10-team league

FILE PHOTO: Lalit Modi leaves the High Court in central London on March 5, 2012. (CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

THE former chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Lalit Modi, has presented a proposal to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), offering a blueprint that could revolutionise the cricketing landscape, the Cricbuzz reported.

While the specifics of his plan remain undisclosed, Modi’s vision aims to inject substantial revenue into the ECB’s coffers by restructuring The Hundred, the board’s flagship tournament launched in 2021, to mirror the highly successful T20 format.

Central to Modi’s proposal is the establishment of a 10-team league, accompanied by a substantial £79.5 million player purse spread over a decade.

Additionally, he envisions a guaranteed £795m revenue stream flowing into the ECB’s accounts. However, Modi is insistent on minimal involvement of IPL teams in the proposed league, stressing the importance of maintaining English dominance within the competition.

“I have suggested only two IPL teams; it has to be an English league and not India dominated,” he was quoted as saying.

However, with Modi’s tainted history and lifetime ban from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the ECB may proceed cautiously, likely consulting with the Indian board due to the delicate bilateral relations between the two cricketing powerhouses.

While the ECB has yet to issue an official response to Modi’s proposal, internal deliberations are underway. Sources close to the matter suggest that despite being a sovereign entity, the ECB may consider engaging with the BCCI to maintain amicable relations, acknowledging the sensitive nature of Modi’s involvement.

Reports suggest that The Hundred is nearing partial privatisation, with potential investments reaching a billion pounds. Approval from 12 out of ECB’s 18 county teams is crucial for finalising the decision.

Over 10 counties have already agreed, with a few more expected to follow suit, allowing the ECB to reshape the tournament. Broadcaster Sky, refraining from investment in recent India-England bilateral matches, is poised to collaborate with the ECB for this long-term project.

In a parallel development, IPL franchises have shown keen interest in investing in the English cricketing landscape. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), under the ownership of the Sun TV Network, has emerged as a prominent contender, engaging in discussions with ECB officials.

The decision on SRH’s expression of interest is anticipated in April, coinciding with the ECB’s deliberations on the potential privatisation of cricket in the UK.

The confidence exhibited by IPL teams in investing abroad is further exemplified by Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) openness to exploring opportunities in English cricket. While no concrete decision has been made, CSK remains receptive to potential offers, awaiting further developments in the matter.

However, amidst the fervour surrounding IPL teams’ interest in foreign leagues, the BCCI has maintained a cautious stance.

Its secretary Jay Shah refrained from commenting on the matter, asserting that any discussion regarding IPL teams’ investments would need to be internally deliberated before engaging with the franchises.