McCullum's assault hands IPL dream start

As the revolution exploded into life last night, England seemed intent on hitching a ride at the back. The Indian Premier League had precisely the thunderous innings it craved for its opening, with a remarkable, record-breaking performance issuing forth from the blazing bat of the New Zealander, Brendon McCullum for Kolkata Knight Riders.

If it had the effect of rendering the inaugural contest hopelessly one-sided McCullum's scintillating 158 not out from 73 balls, the highest score in Twenty20 matches, also lent a forlorn appearance to the desperate attempts by the country which invented the format to avoid being left behind.

That, incidentally, is England, though you would have been hard pushed to confirm it in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The worrying thought that the horse might already be off – and bolting horses were about all that were missing during a launch of lavish proportions – was not about to deter them despite the hammer blows delivered by each of McCullum's 13 sixes and ten fours.

It was also quite enough to despatch the home side Bangalore Royal Challengers who might have required a nip of the hard stuff from which they take their name after the onslaught. Following a nervous start McCullum, in a golden helmet which gave him the look of a conquering Viking marauder, vigorously earned every cent of the $700,000 (£351,100) he is being paid for the next six weeks. It utterly undermined the Challengers who were anything but, being dismissed for 82 in 15.1 overs.

England, it emerged, will not only play a one-off winner-takes-all Twenty20 match against the West Indies this autumn (the all being £10m) but are also forging ahead with plans to establish their own Premier League. The term might be relative and while in India many more millions of dollars are being pumped out, the English version may be considerably less lucrative.

India have been bold and if some of the figures would seem to suggest that the boldness strays into fiscal foolhardiness those involved can afford it. Not for England the idea of city-based teams. No sir. It seems that their Premier League will have to contain all 18 counties but might also embrace two or three foreign teams.

David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who is here in Bangalore, said: "The ECB is looking at options and in particular is interested in finding out which offers the most incremental value both from a cricket and commercial standpoint. The ECB constitution says that all 18 counties have to play in all competitions."

Whether Collier looked enviously at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who, if such considerations existed, were not bothered a jot, is uncertain. The IPL was all that it promised to be in its initial incarnation.

Fears that the crowds might not turn up and thus ruin the event as a television spectacle proved unfounded. They witnessed among other things the Washington Redskins cheerleading troupe, a band of stilt walkers, all eight IPL captains of whom Shane Warne was the only foreigner signing the MCC Spirit of Cricket, in case anyone thought the tournament lacked authenticity and a wall of noise.

There was well-founded speculation that some tickets had to be given away to ensure the 55,000 full house but when you have already spent $111.9m (£56m) on buying the franchise plus at least another $4m (£2m) in salaries for the six-week competition, as Vijay Mallya had done, it was no more than coughing up for the tip at dinner.

It is a scenario that may have to be repeated up and down the country if necessary. Ticket prices were at reasonable levels here – between 210 and 600 rupees (£2.80 and £8), not cheap by Indian standards but not prohibitive either – but the concept is alien. What spectators might be prepared to pay for a one-day international featuring all their heroes does not apply yet to teams featuring a bunch of four foreigners and four unknown locals under 22.

There are a couple of other elements in the formation of the IPL which it is easy to overlook in the rush to celebrate its audacity. It was formed, lest it be forgotten in the wake of the breakaway, unauthorised Indian Cricket League, a Twenty20 competition created by Zee TV because it had no rights to official cricket.

Comparisons have been made these past few days with the rebel World Series Cricket of 30 years ago, launched by the television mogul Kerry Packer. But that was in opposition to official cricket (like the ICL) whereas the IPL is the establishment trying to protect itself with a hint of bravura.

Then there is the place of cricket in Indian society. While it is still by far the biggest sport, the back pages of almost all the large circulation English language papers the other day prominently featured Emile Heskey's late equaliser for Wigan against Chelsea in another Premier League. There is a huge gap to bridge but India needed the DLF Premier League to see off the Barclays version.

Money was no object last night and will not be for the next six weeks. Only one England player, Dimitri Mascarenhas, is here to share in it. Hence the ECB's eagerness to take the offer of the Texan billionaire Allen Stanford of £10m to the team winning a single Twenty20 match. That match will take place in Antigua, probably in late October. It might be a sop to players missing out here but it is a sop with knobs on.

There are no pictures from the match because of a dispute over image rights

scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape