Dubai:In a veiled attack on multi-million dollar Twenty20 leagues like the IPL, Cricket Australia (CA) has said such cash awash ventures have introduced the concept of private ownership in cricket which might prove detrimental to the game's future.
"We must understand and accept that the introduction of private ownership is likely to see them often at odds with the interests of international cricket," CA chief James Sutherland said in his address to the ICC Members' Forum on Friday, the final event of the ICC's annual conference week.
"This is a real threat and is likely to provide us with many challenges in the future," he added.
Sutherland, however, hoped that the BCCI and all other boards involved in the organisation of such leagues would ensure that international cricket is always put first.
"Twenty20 cricket...whether it is IPL, Champions T20, Pro20, The Big Bash, whatever... Twenty20 must be designed, structured and promoted so as to complement, not compromise international cricket. I repeat...complement, not compromise," he said.
"Given the significance of IPL and its relationship with the BCCI, it is not unreasonable for us all to expect that IPL will seek to preserve and protect international cricket on behalf of all ICC members," he added.
Sutherland said the economic boom that has been triggered by leagues like IPL was hard to ignore and it has to be lauded for that but money alone should not dictate international cricket.
"Twenty20 is a format of the game that is popular in traditional cricket markets but it may well make its biggest mark in new and emerging markets...hopefully in markets that can make a material contribution to the global interest in our game...and ultimately impact favourably on cricket's economy," Sutherland said.
"Twenty20 is a winner...it's here to stay and the challenge for us is to find the context and the balance to ensure that we don't trip over our self (or each other) in our enthusiasm to ride the wave and capitalise on it," he added.
Sutherland emphasised the importance of Test and ODI cricket and said these two remain the most important no matter how popular Twenty20 becomes.
"Unfortunately, in my view, there is currently too much talk of ODI cricket as the problem child or the ugly duckling, he told world cricket leaders. The financial success of the modern game has been built on ODI cricket.
"We should never lose sight of the fact that international cricket is the foundation on which this game has been built. It is not only our foundation, but for all members, possibly with the exception of India, we couldn't survive without it. International cricket is our lifeblood...we compromise it at our peril," he said.
Sutherland also called on the administrators to respect the role of players and to listen to their views.
"They make the game a joy to watchthey were once just sportsmen but in this day and age they are now professional entertainers," he said.
"We need to look after our players. We need to keep them close. We need to understand them. We need to respect their advisors and their member associations.
"We don't have to always agree with them, but we should respect their views, as they should respect ours."
Sutherland felt a new Future Tours Programme with a Test Championship and an ODI League were an important exercise in brand management.
"They would provide a framework and structure for world cricket to live with, and a way to manage and grow the publics growing fascination with Twenty20 cricket," he said.
"Lets face it, generally speaking, the FTP is currently a hotch-potch of bi-lateral tour arrangements that, given the current volume of international cricket, produces matches that no longer linger in the memory or have lasting meaning," he added.