London - Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi believes
there will come a time when players will earn $1 million dollars per game while
warning that the traditional programme of matches between countries "will
A Twenty20 domestic franchise competition launched a decade
ago, which has spawned a host of imitators worldwide, the IPL is now the most
lucrative of all cricket tournaments.
"The IPL is here to stay," Modi told Britain's
Daily Telegraph newspaper in an interview published Thursday. "It will be
the dominant sporting league in the world."
IPL teams are bankrolled by wealthy businessmen operating in
an environment where the passion for cricket in India, the world's second-most
populous nation, makes the game an attractive target for sponsors and
At present there is a team salary cap, with the likes of
England all-rounder Ben Stokes earning $1.95 million per season from the
But Modi believes that if that $12 million cap is relaxed,
leading IPL players could earn as much as English Premier League footballers
and even NFL stars.
That would have a huge impact on international cricket, with
players torn between making an IPL fortune and representing their countries.
"You will see players making $1-$2m a game," said
Modi. "It will happen sooner rather than later.
"In a free market the person with the deepest pockets
will win. The players will gravitate towards who pays the biggest salary."
Meanwhile, in a chilling argument for cricket
traditionalists, London-based Modi forecast the end of country versus country
contests, which effectively finance professional cricket structures all round
the world and the demise of the International Cricket Council, the sport's
global governing body.
"Today international cricket does not matter," he
said. "It is of zero value to the Indian fan.
"Tomorrow you will see bilateral cricket
disappear," Modi added. "Big series will happen once every three or
four years like the World Cup.
"The ICC will become an irrelevant body. It will be
full of fat lugs who have no power. They can scream and shout now and in the
future they will threaten to throw India out if they try to expand the IPL but
India has the power to stand on its own feet...They have a domestic league that
it is going to be 20-times the size of international cricket."
Modi said the only way five-day international Test cricket,
long regarded as the pinnacle of the sport, could survive was if the ICC
introduced a long talked-about championship.
"I think there is a window for Test cricket and a World
Test championship will survive if all nations get together and make it a proper
tournament," he explained.
"But it has to be a championship. If the ICC does not
do it I see no reason why the IPL would not do it instead as a knockout IPL
Modi left India to live in London and has not returned home
since 2009. The Board of Control for Cricket in India found him guilty of eight
offences relating to irregularities in the administration of the IPL.
He has never been charged by the Indian government with a
crime and denies all accusations, but Modi has repeatedly insisted he cannot go
back to India because of underworld threats to his life.