Nine english county cricket clubs have been in talks about forming a breakaway Twenty20 League, it emerged yesterday. The disclosure came in India after its Board of Cricket Control issued a show-cause notice against Lalit Modi, the suspended commissioner of the IPL.
This notice said that Modi had undermined the game both in England and in India by holding the talks. The BCCI was alerted by an email from the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Giles Clarke. At the least it demonstrates that the counties, all of them from the Test match grounds and believed to include Surrey, Middlesex, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Warwickshire, Hampshire, Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire, were prepared to open negotiations.
The ECB has consistently tried to rebuff any notion of a separate Twenty20 competition based on city franchises – as in the IPL – but the suspicion grows that the time for this idea may be imminent.
Such a plan has long been advocated by influential figures in the English game. Speaking before these most recent revelations, Rod Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman and chief executive, said that he believed it was time for this sort of competition to take place in England.
"The IPL has been dramatically successful," he said. "It has been demonstrated to me that it is time for a cricket competition of a different sort [in England]. The franchise idea [of nine city teams] would be good for English cricket."
Hampshire have already linked up with IPL side Rajasthan Royals, taking their name and becoming part of what is described as a "global franchise".