IPL auction sparks major worries in EnglandFebruary 21st, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by admin
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, Feb 21 (IANS) The Indian Premier League (IPL) could fundamentally change the world of cricket, pitting money against the honour of playing for your country, pundits predicted. The biggest worry is being sounded in England, whose cricketers stayed away from the auction Wednesday because clashing schedules mean they cannot make themselves available for IPL matches. The English domestic cricket season starts in April - just when the IPL tournament kicks off.
This meant international crowd pullers such as Kevin Peterson, Andrew Flintoff and Paul Collingwood - certain to have been snapped up at the auction - missed out on a major playing and earning opportunity.
Star England players appear to be caught in a dilemma brought on by the clashing schedules.
“My priority is getting back to play with Lancashire, a county I have been with since I was nine, and they have looked after me over the years, as have the ECB and England,” said Flintoff, who is in Mumbai at the moment touring with the England Lions, the country’s A team.
He added, “For English players I don’t think the IPL is really going to be an option. We tour in the winter and we start the county season in April. People are saying they want a rest from the international calendar because they are playing too much cricket, and now they’re talking about playing in another competition.”
England opener Alistair Cook said: “We’re very well looked after and I can’t see why you’d trade in the Three Lions (the English logo) for anything.”
But he added: “Possibly an England player might have to make a decision, but it all depends on your situation at the time. Of course, if the money is good then Twenty20 cricket in India is a great opportunity to do something new.”
Tim May, head of the international player’s union FICA, said the IPL will threaten players’ commitment to their national teams.
“The IPL is attractive to the players but potentially a threat to other countries outside India,” May said.
“A number of players are thinking that while they tour round the world non-stop, for 44 days’ cricket in the ICL or IPL they can get significantly more income, spend some time with their families and plan a bit for the future.
“There is the high potential to lose players from the international game.”
Some experts said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could try to persuade the International Cricket Council to introduce a break in the international calendar to avoid direct competition with national boards and the England and Wales Cricket Board could have its arm twisted to allow England players to go.
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