Interview: Uzayr Raja of the Distinctive Indoor Big Bash League

The game of cricket is always evolving, right from the ultimate challenge of test cricket, to the 50-over format, to T20 cricket, and to the latest introduction of T-10, with a Ten Over Cricket League soon to be launched. Now, you are about to get familiar with a concept unlike any other – The Indoor Big Bash League 🏏.

We at Read Scoops have just interviewed one of the most influential men at the Indoor Big Bash (IBB), Uzayr Raja. Uzayr is Director of Sports at Stem Sports – an ECB Registered sports management company. He is also heavily involved in the Indoor Big Bash.

Read Scoops Indoor Big Bash League
The IBB 2016 – Luton Final

I (Dwayne Fernandes) would like to congratulate Uzayr on his success with IBB so far, and would also like to thank him for talking to us and letting us know more in detail about the league and what future plans it has.

Indoor Big Bash Profiles 🌐:


UZAYR RAJA’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH READ SCOOPS:

Q1. Before we speak about the Indoor Big Bash (IBB), could you tell us more about your ECB Registered company Stem Sports, and how it operates?

Answer: Yes, sure.

Stem Sports is a UK-based sports agency working primarily with international cricketers. We manage these cricketers in terms of their T20 league representations, commercial agreements, sponsorships and also career advice. 

Now, the Indoor Big Bash is completely unlike the cricket you are used to watching on television. Formed in 2010 in Watford, the league was a competition between just 6 teams, initiated by friends and local cricket lovers who wanted to play indoors due to the cold weather outdoors during winter months.

Over the years, the Watford league has expanded from 6 teams in 2010, to a total of now 17 teams, spread over 2 Divisions. Along with Watford, the league has spread to different parts of the UK, now also being played at Luton, Wembley & Slough.


Read Scoops IBB Gladiators
One of the Luton League teams – Gladiators

Q2. Uzayr, how did you get involved with the Indoor Big Bash League?

Answer: The Indoor Big Bash League (IBB) was operating in Watford before I got involved myself. I was introduced to IBB by Tanveer, who soon became a good friend as our common interest was Cricket; particularly the Pakistani Cricket Team. He then approached me to come on board and run the league in Luton. Before we knew it, we had local sponsors backing us and we are now operating in four areas across the UK.

Q3. How did you manage to get support for IBB from top international cricketers? Were there any obstacles that you came across?

Answer: Due to both mine and Tanveer’s links among cricket players, it became a lot easier to gather support from cricketers and other celebrities. Generally, not many new and upcoming leagues get the chance to pitch their ideas and future plans to well known cricketers, so we feel blessed to be able to talk to the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Paul Nixon and many others. We told them about our league and also sought their advice.

A couple of tweets of support from international cricketers:

This shows that the Indoor Big Bash is getting more popular by the day!

Read Scoops IBB Abdul Razzaq
Pakistan cricketer Abdul Razzaq at the awards night after IBB 2016-17 season


Ever seen a batsman hit the ball out of the ground and heard the commentators say that the shot deserved more than 6 runs? Well, the IBB allows you to score more than 6 off every delivery as the ball is always in play; even if you hit a maximum, you an still run. Here are some of its distinctive rules:

  • Hit a six and run a single = 7 runs.
  • Guaranteed period of batting (4 overs as a pair). Minus 5 runs if out.
  • Boundary and run out = Boundary (4/6) minus 5.
  • No ball or wide = 3 runs.

Q4. The IBB rules are fascinating and unique. Were these rules inspired from somewhere, or were they original? If the IBB grows further, do you see some of your rules being implemented in bigger, more popular tournaments?

Answer: These are indoor league rules and of course, every league will not have the same rules. For example, our rules are a bit unique given the fact that the ball is live for majority of the time. The batsmen have to thus be alert and in their crease, to avoid losing their wicket. Players bat as pairs for 4 overs each, and everyone must bowl 2 overs so it keeps all the players involved.

No, I don’t see these rules being used in other tournaments. However, I do see us growing further and moving into other areas, as all the areas that we have gone into have shown a liking to the exciting format!

Read Scoops Abdul Razzaq IBB

There seems to have been a rapid rise in popularity in the IBB league over the last couple of years. IBB 2017-2018 Season is now underway in all four areas. We also asked Uzayr how far he thinks this league can go.

Q5. What is the future plan for the league? The ultimate goal? Are you planning on taking it international? If yes, how?

Answer: As of now, the plan for the future is pretty simple. We just want to grow and have Indoor Big Bash running in as many areas as possible in the UK. We have set ourselves a target of operating in atleast 8 areas within the next 2 years. We are also looking at having 2-3 major sponsors in place who will back us and help us take IBB to the next level. With that, we can increase the prize money and invest in better equipment.

Yes, we have had initial interest from India, UAE and Canada so are in preliminary talks with people there. If all goes well, we will have IBB operating in those countries as well.


Q6. Could we someday see current and former international stars take part in the league as well? Or will this be a league strictly for local cricket lovers?

Answer: Yes, we certainly plan on doing this.

Once we are operating in a few more areas and have some major sponsors on board, it will allow us to have international cricketers on our finals day via a draft system. We may then even be in a position to have finals day broadcasting live on a UK TV Channel.

However, everything takes time, as you know. We are taking it one step at a time. The progress we have made in the last 2 years, and the number of international cricketers that have actually approached us and shown interest is humbling in itself.

Read Scoops IBB Press Coverage
Press Coverage at the IBB 2016-17 Final in Luton

Q7. For our readers who could be potential IBB partners or sponsors, please leave a message on how they can join you and help take the league forward and upward.

Answer: We are available on all the social media platforms, and we also have our own website (mentioned above). We would encourage all the readers to follow and like our posts, and also encourage people in their areas to invite us and arrange a few games for the locals, so they can familiarize themselves with the format.

Talking about sponsors, we are always looking for sponsors as without their support, taking the league to the next level will simply not be possible.

Contact: [email protected]


Read Scoops Uzayr & Razzaq
Uzayr with Abdul Razzaq

Here’s cricketing legend Viv Richards supporting the Indoor Big Bash:

I hope you liked this concept of the Indoor Big Bash League, because I certainly did. Once again, I thank Uzayr for talking to us and on behalf of the entire team of Read Scoops, I wish him and IBB the best of luck in taking this league international.

Dwayne Fernandes, Read Scoops

(Twitter – @dwayneeeboy, Instagram – @dwayneeeboy)

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About Dwayne Fernandes 941 Articles
Indian. 23. Management Graduate. Huge cricket fan. Twitter and Instagram - @dwayneeeboy