League cricket has exploded in the last ten years so let’s take this opportunity to look at the best divisions from around the world.
Which is the Top Cricket League in the World?
There may be some differences of opinion but most cricket fans would agree that the Indian Premier League is the best of its kind. It was established in 2008 and has always been able to attract the best T20 cricketers in the sport.
From 2022, the IPL now features ten franchises and it will continue to expand and deliver the best cricket in the T20 format.
10 + 1 Best T20 Cricket Leagues
Indian Premier League
T20 cricket was formed in 2003 with the IPL’s first edition coming along five years later. India may have been relatively slow when it came to embracing the format, but this has quickly grown to become the best tournament of its kind.
The IPL benefits from a win/win situation. India has traditionally produced many of the best limited overs players in cricket. The league can also pay big money to bring in global talent and that’s why many believe that the IPL is the best domestic T20 competition in the world.
Big Bash League
This is Australia’s premier T20 competition and many would argue that it is second only to the IPL in terms of prestige. The Big Bash League was formed in the 2011/12 season and the first edition was won by Sydney Sixers who beat Perth Scorchers in the final.
Global viewing figures are also healthy and slot into second place, behind the Indian Premier League. That may be helped by the fact that part of the competition takes place over the Christmas period when many cricket fans are enjoying a break.
It’s certainly a strong tournament with eight franchise teams taking part from all around Australia.
Pakistan Super League
The Pakistan Super League has traditionally been played at the start of a calendar year. The timing is important as it’s allowed the competition to attract some of the best overseas players who aren’t committed to their domestic season.
The PSL’s first edition took place in 2016 and it was won by Islamabad United. Only five teams took part in that inaugural competition but it’s since expanded to six sides as it’s become one of the top cricket leagues in the world.
Caribbean Premier League
The West Indies would argue that they are the most successful international limited overs team. They won the first two editions of the 50-Over World Cup and are the only country to have won the T20 World Cup twice – at the time of writing.
The region produced brilliant T20 players and that helps the Caribbean Premier League to become one of the best competitions of its kind. It was formed in 2013 with the Jamaica Tallawahs claiming the first title.
Six teams compete in the CPL in what is a fast and thrilling tournament.
Vitality T20 Blast
This was where it all started as far as professional T20 cricket was concerned. England’s 18 counties competed in the format’s first ever tournament back in 2003. It was known at the time as the T20 Cup but has since developed into the Blast.
Different sponsors may come and go but this is now an established competition and one of the most important events on the English cricket calendar. All 18 English counties are involved so this is also the biggest T20 domestic tournament on the schedules.
It all culminates in Finals Day where the best four teams play it out for the right to be crowned Blast champions.
Bangladesh Premier League
The Bangladesh Premier League was first run in 2012 and that makes it one of the oldest T20 competitions around. It features six teams from around the country and the best domestic talent is always showcased.
The BPL traditionally takes place from January to February and, since the rise of the Pakistan Super League, it’s lost some of its biggest overseas players. It remains a strong tournament and, for Bangladeshi fans, it’s the best of its kind.
Abu Dhabi T10 League
Not everyone is a fan of T10 cricket but the shortest form of the game has a strong following. In 10 over terms, the Abu Dhabi T10 League is the biggest of its kind.
It was first run as recently as 2017 and that opening edition featured six teams. Timing is good as it runs in November and December, finishing just before the start of the Big Bash in Australia. This allows top limited overs players from around the world to take part, although many have yet to fully embrace the T10 concept.
Mzansi Super Premier League
The Mzansi Super League is South Africa’s premier T20 cricket competition. It was first held in 2018 but the second edition, a year later, is the most recent at the time of writing.
Covid issues have seen later editions cancelled while T20 cricket in South Africa is undergoing major changes, but this is an important event which is worth including.
Lanka Premier League
T20 cricket had been played in Sri Lanka for a while but it wasn’t until 2020 that the country adopted the Lanka Premier League. Five teams take part and the Jaffna Kings are the most successful, having won each of the first two editions.
As we’ve seen, timing is important for these competitions. The Lanka Premier League begins at the start of December and much of it clashes with the Big Bash. The best domestic players are involved but the tournament may well miss out on the best overseas talent.
Global T20 League
This is another competition which has suffered due to Covid cancellations, but it’s one that many would like to see back on the calendar. The name is a bit misleading as the Global T20 League is actually based in Canada with six Canadian teams taking part.
There were two editions, in 2018 and 2019 before the pandemic hit. It’s since been rebranded as GT20 Canada although there are no definite dates for the tournament’s return.
Vincy Premier League
The Vincy Premier League (VPL) is another T10 competition and this one is held in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It’s one of the longest running events of its kind.
2022 was the fourth edition of the VPL and the tournament features five local teams.
How many Cricket Leagues are there in the World?
It’s difficult to put an exact figure on this. A quick Google search suggests that there may be around 75 top leagues around the world, but the situation is fluid and some of the tournaments listed are already defunct.
Opinions vary but many feel that there are five major T20 competitions – the IPL, the Big Bash, the CPL, the PSL and the Blast in England.
Overall, if we count minor professional competitions at smaller ICC nations, there may be many hundreds of events on the calendar.
Which are the Highest Paying Cricket Leagues?
It attracts the best T20 players and, to do that, the Indian Premier League has to pay the highest salaries. Millions of dollars are spent on players each year while a study in 2015 valued the organisation at $4.5 Billion USD.
The Big Bash League in Australia is next. It attracts huge sponsorship and most cricket fans acknowledge that this is the second biggest competition of its kind.
The remaining competitions fall some way below the top two. The T20 Blast, the CPL and the PSL all pay well, but the salaries are small when compared to the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash.
This list of top cricket leagues underlines just how far the game has come since T20 was first played professionally in 2003. It’s hard to believe now that the format was so slow to take off.
The first T20 international was played in 2005 while we had to wait until 2008 before the start of the IPL. Since then, interest in T20 leagues has spiralled and all of the major cricket playing countries have their own domestic competition.
In the years that follow, we can expect to see more leagues being introduced. There may even be new formats to emulateThe Hundred which enjoyed a successful first season in the UK in 2021.
It’s a very fluid list but this is how things stand in terms of the Top Cricket Leagues in 2022.