Former England cricketer Mark Butcher feels that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is desperate to conduct ‘The Hundred’ tournament, which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the ECB has the window of conducting the tournament, however, they are in a tactical difficulty with the BCCI.
The richest board in the cricket world failed to impose strict bio-bubble during the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and as a result, there was a coronavirus outbreak, which led to the rescheduling of the tournament. Now, the BCCI has no window apart from the 20 days in late September and early October before the T20 World Cup and they are trying their best to conduct the tournament.
Team India is scheduled to play a five-match Test series against England and the fifth Test is what is troubling the BCCI’s plan to host IPL. Thus, there were reports that the BCCI had made an informal offer to the ECB to prepone the fifth Test before the first, which is highly unlikely as the ECB will be hosting the inaugural edition of ‘The Hundred’ which will feature most of the stars.
Mark Butcher, in a chat with Wisden, opened up about all these reports and believes that the ECB will be missing a huge opportunity if they don’t respond to BCCI’s offer. The cricketer turned commentator said that the ECB will have a leverage over the BCCI, which hasn’t been the case since the last 10-15 years.
“Bear with me. The ECB very, very rarely… in fact, I would go as far in the last 10-15 years as to say never, have something that the BCCI wants or needs. And with The Hundred sort of floundering because of Covid and overseas players cancelling contracts, not being able to come, this year is a bit of a write-off,” Butcher said as quoted by Wisden.
“The ECB are absolutely desperate to make this work. They have to be, they have bet the house on The Hundred, but at every turn, it seems a greater power doesn’t want it to happen,” he added.
“And so for me, this was the opportunity where you’ll say ‘Okay, we’ll bite the bullet. We get the wrath of English cricket fans anyway: they hate us because of The Hundred. They hate us because we’re seemingly ignoring them at every single turn’.”
‘We would do this for the BCCI on the proviso that we get Kohli, we get Dhoni’
Butcher also said that the ECB should prepone the fifth Test for the BCCI on the condition that they will sign Indian stars like Kohli or Dhoni for ‘The Hundred’.
“So you say ‘We’ll take it on the chin, they don’t like us anyway. We would do this for the BCCI on the proviso that we get Kohli, we get Dhoni, we get whoever we like, signed up for three years to play in The Hundred, starting 2022’,” he believes.
“And you have leverage for the first time ever: you have something that they need, that they want. Obviously, the BCCI will lose a lot of money if they don’t get the IPL in the window. You also have the extraordinary spectacle of the IPL being finished at the behest or because of English cricket. And you use that lever in order to get something you desperately need. So I think there’s an opportunity missed,” he concluded.
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