ICC should restrain growth of T20 leagues: Trevor Bayliss

Former Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss feels that the private sponsors may shift to T20 cricket and cut down on ODI cricket in future © AFP


By Philem Dipak Singh


Colombo: Aug 26, 2012


Former Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss, who guided Kolkata Knight Riders and Sydney Sixers to title wins in the IPL and Big Bash, on Sunday said that the ICC cannot allow private T20 leagues to mushroom which can affect the future of Test cricket.


“I am a traditionalist and I would want Test cricket to be number one in the game. I like the thought of (former India coach) Gary Kirsten that T20 cricket should not be played at international level but only to club and domestic levels,” Bayliss, who is in charge of Wayamba United in the Sri Lankan Premier League said on Sunday.


“Test and ODIs are being played at the country level for a long time. But with the T20 leagues becoming very popular, there has to be some way out. You have to be careful,” he said in an interaction.


“This is the challenge for the Boards and the ICC to work and resolve the issue. So many T20 leagues are coming up in every country and it can’t go out of hand. You have to strike a balance. On one hand, you have to bring new fans in cricket field but on the other leagues are coming up at every country,” he added.


The Australian feels that world cricket is at an evolving stage as far as the issue of how to deal with too many T20 tournaments is concerned.


“T20 leagues are becoming very popular and you never know the private sponsors may shift to T20 cricket and cut down on ODI cricket in future. It may happen to Test cricket also which is facing competition in terms of spectators turning up.


So you never know 30-50 years down the line what will happen.


There is no magic wand and international cricket is evolving,” he said.


Teenage offie Akila Dananjaya has become the sensation of the SLPL after he made it to the Sri Lankan Twenty20 World Cup squad on the strength of his superb show in the SLPL, but Bayliss does not want to call him a “mystery spinner” as yet.


Dananjaya have not played any competitive cricket outside school fixtures but after seeing him as a net bowler, Sri Lanka and Wayamba skipper Mahela Jayawardene recommended him to be fast-tracked into the national team.


“I don’t want to term him as a “mystery spinner” (like an Ajantha Mendis or West Indian Sunil Narine but he is more of a conventional spinner. He has more leg-spinning variation, like the wrong ‘un and the flippers. He does not have a carrom ball (like a Mendis). He has a very good head on his shoulders and he is ready to learn.


“It’s good for Sri Lankan cricket. It happened in case of Ajantha Mendis also. When I came here (to take charge as coach), Mendis was a net bowler but after seeing his variations he was drafted into the team,” said Bayliss.


“My advice is that at the international stage, batsmen will try to work out a Dananjaya or a Mendis but the challenge is that they have to go a step ahead and should not lose confidence,” he added.


Bayliss picked Sri Lanka as the favourites to win the Twenty20 World Cup starting on September 18.


“It is going to be tough to beat Sri Lanka at home and I would put my money on them. India and Pakistan are also going to be contenders in sub-continental conditions. West Indies wickets are also more or less similar to the wickets here and they have some good players. But you can’t rule out England and Australia either,” he said.


Asked about his take on DRS, he said, “It might be wrong if India said that they got more wrong decisions. India said they want 100 per cent accuracy in the DRS. It’s OK. It’s understandable.


“It’s their view. If 100 per cent right decisions are made, it’s the best but it is not going to happen. It’s good that if the accuracy of DRS is improved but the 50-50 decisions will remain.”


Three Pakistani players in the Wayamba United have left for home for the series against Australia, but Bayliss said that his side has the local youngsters to take their place.


“It is not going to affect on the balance of the team but surely will affect on the experience. Three Pakistanis are leaving and they are going to be replaced by some talenetd local players but experience will be lacking,” he said.


Asked about a comparison among Big Bash, IPL and SLPL, Bayliss said, “IPL is really big in terms of money involved but one similarity is that any such league will depend on the home-grown players as the overseas players would find it difficult to adjust to conditions. It happened in KKR and in Sydney Sixers team. In the Big Bash final, I played all local players and there was not a single foreign player.”


On the secret of his success as T20 coach, Bayliss said, “I did not do anything. A coach’s job is to create the right environment so that they play their best. The result depends on the quality of players you have. It’s the same in Sydney Sixers and KKR.”


Asked about his assessment of the inaugural SLPL as it’s approaching the end of league phase, Bayliss said,”There were teething problems in the beginning but after that it is going on smoothly. Crowds are turning up in increasing number after every game, especially in Kandy. SLPL is going from strength to strength. Some very good cricket and contest are going on.


The teams are doing well and youngsters are doing well.” (PTI)