T20 will change the face of cricket: Maxwell

Sydney, Jun 15 (UNI) The success of the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) may spell the death knell of the prevailing system in world cricket, Kings XI Punjab chief executive Neil Maxwell has said.

''Cricket fans who think the system is great as it is have to realise that the game they love will not be there in 10 years unless significant changes are made,'' Maxwell was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. ''The success of the IPL and other leagues, like the ICL (Indian Cricket League) and (Allen) Stanford's league, have ensured that.'' ''The current set-up will not be able to generate enough revenue to stop the players from seeking other opportunities,'' he added.

Maxwell is convinced cricket will soon resemble soccer, where players spend most of their time playing for clubs and assemble before major tournaments to represent their countries. He believes the new structure will enhance expansion prospects to markets such as the US and China, generate more funds for domestic competitions and give more players a chance to earn fame and fortune.

''The players will still have central contracts but the national bodies won't be able to restrict them as they currently do,'' he said. ''The players will have flexibility to pick and choose where and when they play. It's just like football: the player earns his big money playing for his club and then is proud to represent his country as well.'' ''The FIFA model shows that you need windows available to represent your country. Currently, in cricket, it's about finding windows for club cricket. But it will be turned on its head. It will soon be about finding windows to play Test cricket,'' he added.

The 41-year-old feels one-day cricket will find it difficult to survive in the future.

''Fifty-over cricket is hardly sustainable overall at the moment, but it will become less so. After the IPL the Indians played one-day cricket against Pakistan and interest levels fell away,'' Maxwell stated.

He, however, said Test cricket can benefit from the rise of Twenty20.

''Twenty20 can help Test cricket in a way 50-over can't because instead of having a brand of the game that is neither here nor there, you will have two games that are very different and can be promoted as such,'' he remarked.

''I'm a traditionalist. I love Test cricket and I want to see it played as much as possible. But, if you put on your business hat, it's clear to me that we're now going to move towards a club or franchise system with the free movement of players.'' UNI XC AB RKM UCS1350

Story first published: Sunday, June 15, 2008, 14:02 [IST]
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