On the Front Foot: Window of opportunity for ECB as maverick Modi takes hit

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IPL3, as it calls itself, concludes today. It has become so self-important that by next year it will be IPL IV, Roman numerals adding gravitas to an entity where otherwise there is none (see Super Bowls ad tedium).

That depends on it getting that far. What a week it was for the world's richest cricket tournament™ as a match in Bangalore took place despite explosions outside the ground and the Indian Income-Tax Department (I-T D) mounted raids on anybody associated with the event. Accusations flew, from money-laundering to match-fixing. An Indian government minister resigned. At the hub of it all, as he has been from the IPL's inception, was the entertaining maverick, the IPL's chief architect and commissioner Lalit Modi. The I-T D's probing into his affairs did not exonerate him of wrong-doing. Modi, as is his wont, played the innocent. He was, he said, prepared to co-operate, though he may have to do it from a position of being the IPL ex-commissioner after a meeting of its board tomorrow called by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who putatively run the whole shebang. There was scant sympathy at the International Cricket Council or the England and Wales Cricket Board and schadenfreude could have been invented for the purpose. But whatever happens to Modi, those revelling in his fate would do well to remember that the IPL is staying. It is a palpable TV hit, whatever its detractors might wish, and there is too much rich men's money at stake for it to unravel, as even the I-T D may agree. The ICC, when they have stopped wallowing, may like to consider getting to the hub of the matter and ensuring a window for the competition. Unless the ECB see this as the opportunity they should have taken long ago: an English version, based on franchises, in midsummer when cricket is being played nowhere else, instead of the half-cock competition they have allowed to evolve.

April showered with praise

Whoever thought of starting the County Championship in early April (OTFF is certain on reflection that it always seemed a perfectly logical step and anybody interpreting the phrase "risible scheduling" as anything other than blanket approbation is misguided) was clearly touched with genius. With three rounds all but complete and Yorkshire top, those running affairs might imagine all's right with the world. Next summer doubtless they will use more Robert Browning to pack 'em in: "Oh to be in England now that April's there."

Porter a top opener

The recently installed chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, Angus Porter, has no professional cricket pedigree (his marketing and commercial background is impeccable and he has a doctorate in metallurgy to boot). But for 20 years he has been chairman of Wooburn Narkovians, a village side in Buckinghamshire. He also still plays most weekends and was in action yesterday. Though it is seven years since his last hundred, the opener still shares the club's record stand of 230, set in the Thames Valley League Division 6B.

Tongue lashing for ICC

The ICC revealed the other day that the World Twenty20, which starts on Friday, would be broadcast in 14 European languages. Later it amended this number to 15. Perhaps we can all agree that the ICC have to speak in many tongues.