Extravagant IPL changes world landscape

JOHANNESBURG, May 25, 2009 (AFP) – Commissioner Lalit Modi claimed after Sunday’s final that the Indian Premier League had become a global phenomenon. The claim might have been a touch extravagant, but there could be no doubt that the second version of cricket’s richest tournament, moved at short notice from India to South Africa, contributed to a change in world cricket’s landscape.

Despite the IPL insisting the International Cricket Council official tours programme took precedence, there were alarming signs for the game’s administrators that their hold on top players was weakening.

A graphic illustration was the late departure of West Indian captain Chris Gayle from the IPL. He opted to play an extra game for the struggling Kolkata Knight Riders and joined his Caribbean team-mates only two days before the first Test against England.

Gayle offended traditionalists when he said he wouldn’t be sad to give up both the captaincy and Test cricket as he underlined an uncomfortable reality for administrators around the world.

While Gayle reluctantly led the West Indies to two crushing Test defeats, recently retired international players li