The reports of Saudi Arabia considering initiating the world’s richest T20 cricket league in collaboration with the Indian Premier League (IPL) have garnered attention in the cricketing world.
The Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Greg Barckay, has confirmed Saudi Arabia’s interest in investing in franchise cricket and cricket as a sport in general, given their previous investments in other sports such as Formula 1 Grand Prix and LIV Golf.
However, there are reports that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused to allow its players to participate in the Saudi league, as they do not want any other cricket league to become a rival to the highly successful IPL. BCCI has reportedly stated that players wishing to play in Saudi Arabia would need to take retirement from India and the IPL, which has raised concerns among cricketing circles.
Official statement from Saudi Cricket on the new T20 competition 🇸🇦 pic.twitter.com/HgdZ03f0Hh
— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) April 14, 2023
Former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram has also expressed eagerness to establish a cricket league in Saudi Arabia and has met with Prince Saud bin Mishal Al Saud, the Chairman of the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF), to discuss the future of cricket in the country. The Ministry of Sports in Saudi Arabia has released an official statement, mentioning that their current focus is on creating a robust grassroots level program, increasing participation, and building world-class infrastructure to develop and host marquee events in the future.
The BCCI has once again confirmed that no current India player will play in any league in the world other than Indian Premier League. The players who wish to play in Saudi Arabia also need to take retirement from India and from the IPL, according to media reports.
— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) April 15, 2023
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Prince Saud bin Mishal Al Saud, Chairman of SACF, has expressed enthusiasm and optimism about the organization’s involvement in cricket, stating their commitment to approach the journey in an open and transparent manner, with the best interests of the cricket community in mind. SACF remains dedicated to the long-term growth and success of cricket, domestically and internationally, and looks forward to sharing more information about its strategy in the coming months.
The potential initiation of a T20 cricket league in Saudi Arabia has generated interest and speculation, and it remains to be seen how the discussions and negotiations progress between Saudi Arabia and the cricketing stakeholders involved.