Michael Atherton criticises IPL expansion and insists Test cricket "will suffer"

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to expand next year, with two new teams getting introduced after they were brought by private investors in a closed bidding process earlier this month.

RPSG Group and CVC Capital won the bids, paying a respective 7090 crores (£694m) and 5625 crores (£554m) for franchises in Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

Manchester United 's owners, the Glazer family, also took part in the bidding but lost out.

With two new franchises now set to enter the tournament, that will mean more games and former England captain Michael Atherton is concerned about what this will mean for the future of the sport.

Writing in the Times, Atherton stated that he believes Test cricket will suffer as a result of the expansion.

"There will be adverse knock-on effects," he wrote. "The calendar cannot contain the competing demands of international and franchise cricket as it is now, with a two-month window allotted for the IPL.

"India will want a longer window and, who knows, maybe the owners will eventually want a second station carved out of the schedule.

"Cricketers will follow the money, if the market is left unchecked, and the least profitable aspects of the game will suffer — notably Test cricket among countries with small television markets.

"Relations between the players and their principal employers will fray. Some, like New Zealand, have simply accepted reality and allow their players absolute freedom to pick and choose.

"There has been remarkably little tension recently in England, where the ECB seems happy to pay seven-figure salaries and cede control of their players for a period of time.

"England are missing two centrally contracted players in this World Cup who were injured in the IPL — an extraordinary state of affairs when you think about it."

Atherton concluded: "An imbalance of revenues, and the intense gravitational pull of IPL, puts stress on a game ill-equipped to withstand it.

"The advance of the IPL, and its satellite tournaments, will be hard to stop, but sport that exists only to create return for investors will lose the precious elements that hinder rather than help the bottom line."

Source: Read Full Article