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Lord's could host Indian Premier League games - MCC

IPL cheerleaders
The proposed tie-up with the glitzy IPL may alarm some Lord's members

By Sam Sheringham

Indian Premier League matches could be held at Lord's if the MCC goes ahead with plans to buy into a team.

MCC Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw has held talks with a consortium bidding to buy a franchise and is keen to bring the successful tournament to England.

"It's a logical conclusion that if the MCC were involved with an IPL side, to have that side playing at Lord's would be extremely exciting," said Bradshaw.

Any such plans would be discussed with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Bradshaw added that should the plans become reality, fans would have the chance "to come along and see the IPL and to see what is in effect their own team playing at Lord's."

Two new IPL teams - each with a base price of $225m (£146m) - are up for grabs at an auction to be held next month.

606: DEBATE

Bradshaw and club trustee Anthony Wreford travelled to India at the weekend to meet consortium members and IPL officials.

The club, which owns Lord's cricket ground, has since set up a committee to consider the findings.

"At the heart of considering something like this is our feeling that in order to influence the game it's better to be inside the tent than outside the tent," said Bradshaw.

"The IPL is innovative and exciting and it's something which is becoming more and more powerful in terms of the world of cricket."

The IPL has been a huge success since its inception in 2008, attracting the world's top players on lucrative contracts.

England stars Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan have all been signed up for this year's tournament which starts on 12 March.

But a tie-up with the IPL, bringing its cheerleaders, pop music and razzmatazz, would represent a radical departure for the MCC, which is generally seen as a bastion for the game's traditions.

"Our members have shown themselves to embrace change and be very forward-thinking," said Bradshaw.

Keith Bradshaw
Australian Bradshaw has been in charge at the MCC since 2006

"We will put out findings to the committee who will then decide what the next course of action is."

Staging matches at Lord's could help finance the redevelopment of the ground, the cost of which has reportedly spiralled to £400m.

An exhibition match between Shane Warne's Rajasthan Royals, the inaugural IPL champions, and Middlesex drew 23,000 people to the 196-year-old ground in July 2009.

But IPL matches would have to compete for space on an already crowded calendar, and the ECB may be mindful of taking attention away from the new domestic Twenty20 league which launches this summer.

"What we like to think we do well is stage major matches and if there was a need to supplement our income through staging extra matches then the IPL is an option we would consider, but we would look at that in tandem with the ECB," Bradshaw added.

"We don't want to have so many IPL games here that it's to the detriment of the local product.

"There's a balance to be struck and that's a discussion we are having with the ECB. We are mindful of developing the game here locally and finding a balance to suit everybody."

The new IPL franchises will be sold at an auction of sealed bids before the 2010 IPL season starts on 12 March.

The teams will then be added to the IPL, which currently consists of eight sides, from 2011.

IPL chief Lalit Modi said last week that a "very famous" English football club was interested in buying a franchise.



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see also
English club linked with IPL team
16 Feb 10 |  Cricket
IPL owners turn on media over row
22 Jan 10 |  South Asia
Morgan seals Bangalore IPL deal
19 Jan 10 |  Cricket
Pakistan players miss IPL spots
19 Jan 10 |  Cricket
Third IPL begins with a whimper
19 Jan 10 |  South Asia
Bollywood star 'wants IPL team'
27 Aug 09 |  South Asia
MCC rules out renaming of Lord's
18 Nov 09 |  England
Deccan beat Bangalore to win IPL
24 May 09 |  Cricket
Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL
02 Jun 08 |  Cricket
MCC group urges calendar change
14 May 08 |  Cricket


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