Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has announced that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are jealous about the amount of success the Indian Premier League (IPL) has enjoyed.
In his autobiography, Pietersen also noted that he cannot understand why the ECB will not allow more English players to participate in the star-studded tournament.
“A lot of people in English cricket like to explain their attitude to the IPL as an ideological problem,” Pietersen wrote. “It’s a problem about India and money. The ECB doesn’t really know how to deal with India or money. Whenever the IPL comes up in conversation you can feel the meeting room grow uneasy. When the IPL started, all the ECB could see was the IPL’s money and its own jealousy.
“Despite having created and developed the Twenty20 format, England failed to see its potential and the fact is that they are gutted that India has got a hold of the strongest tournament in the world. Also English players want to play in the IPL but they are afraid of not being picked for the national team.
“The ECB won’t reduce their own schedule because it has a television contract with Sky that provides a good chunk of their revenue.”
Pietersen also pointed out that the English press have the same mindset as the ECB and cannot see the benefits the IPL has to offer.
“They say the IPL is chaotic, disturbing, corrupt and not real cricket,” he wrote. “Good old-fashioned wholesome county cricket is enough for any clean-living person. Only grubby bat-for-hire mercenaries go out to India to collect money in that gaudy circus. The ECB, lacking the imagination to do anything more positive, have settled for drip-feeding condescension out to their media lapdogs.”
Pietersen also lashed out at former players and commentators who constantly belittle the IPL since they believe it is harming the other formats of the game.
“The IPL has a potential audience of a billion-people in India alone,” Pietersen wrote. “It’s an adrenalin rush. The format is built on aggression and thrills. You are paid and looked after far better. I have got to make a living. Your career passes you by quickly. The IPL is the future.
“That does not mean that blockbuster cricket is not great fun. That it does not attract a huge audience, that the kids who catch it on TV aren’t copying the styles and aggression of IPL players. It does not mean there’s no craft.”