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Lumb warns of England's IPL tensions

Jon Culley

March 29, 2013

Comments: 77 | Text size: A | A

Michael Lumb and Alex Hales celebrate the series victory, New Zealand v England, 3rd T20, Wellington, February 15, 2013
Michael Lumb celebrates with his Notts team mate Alex Hales as they lead England to a T20 series victory in New Zealand © Getty Images
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Michael Lumb, who was one of three England cricketers barred by Nottinghamshire from taking part in the 2013 Indian Premier League, has admitted he considered going freelance rather than miss out on the opportunity to play in the most lucrative event on the growing Twenty20 circuit.

After careful thought, the 33-year-old batsman, part of England's successful T20 side in India and New Zealand over the winter, rejected the idea because he wants to achieve success with Nottinghamshire. But he believes others on the county circuit will choose not to seek full-season contracts if it rules them out of the IPL.

"I think you will see more and more of that with the money being thrown round these leagues, especially among players who don't see themselves playing Test cricket, if the English clubs don't allow their players to go because it clashes with county fixtures," Lumb said.

"I think there is a mood among the players to change things so we do get the opportunity to play. If the rules can be done in such a way that we can take part, we'd like to play. But at the minute that's not going to happen."

Lumb's warning provides a clue to the strong debate taking place in private between the ECB and players' representatives, led by the Professional Cricketers Association, over the rights of England players to compete in IPL rather than be persistently excluded.

Lumb has played in the IPL twice before, notably with Rajasthan Royals in 2010, but along with Alex Hales and Samit Patel, he was told he could not put himself forward for the 2013 player auction because of the fixture clash between IPL 2013, which starts on April 3, and the County Championship, which begins seven days later.

Nottinghamshire encourage their players to play competitive cricket during the English close season but were not prepared to lose three players at the start of the domestic programme. They had a contractual right to insist that their players were available for the full county season.

"Our players can play wherever they want to between October 1 and April 10," Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell said. "I've got no issues with that. We encourage our players to play abroad -- Riki (Wessels) went to Bangladesh, Hales and Lumb to the Big Bash and Samit's now got a gig in South Africa. But there has to be a point at which you say 'no, we need all of our best players together now'."

With the English county season continuing until the last week of September, clashing dates mean that no English teams will participate in the Champions League this year. Lumb regards that as another contentious issue, especially after his own success with Big Bash side Sydney Sixers in last year's Champions League, when his unbeaten 82 was the match-winning innings in the final.

"Having no teams in the Champions League is a huge blow for English counties," Lumb said. "I was part of it last year and I know it is a fantastic competition.

"Playing the final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg was great for me because it allowed me to play in my home town and in front of my mum and dad, who had not seen me play for a while. But for any player to play before a full house in a stadium like that is a fantastic buzz.

"As for the IPL, it is disappointing that we can't be involved this year. I can see it may cause a bit of trouble in the future and it something the management and coaches need to sort out.

"I don't know how it will work or if there is a solution. I have thought about going freelance but for me it is not the right thing at the moment. I'm enjoying my cricket right now and enjoying being at Notts, with this group, and I want this group to have success, so for me it is not really an option. But I can see other players looking at it."

Lumb's comments follow Matt Prior's admission that England players are becoming 'frustrated' that central contracts restrict them to being available for only half the IPL because of the clash with Test fixtures. Prior, championed in England at least as the finest wicketkeeper-batsman in the world, but not a part of England's T20 side, was given a base price of $200,000 dollars at the IPL auction but failed to attract a bid, leaving Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan as the only centrally contracted England players in the 2013 tournament.

The Professional Cricketers' Association is pressing the ECB to allow England players to play a fuller part in the event when their central contracts are renegotiated in October, although the ECB is thought unlikely to yield given its commitment to broadcast partners to put on seven Tests every summer. One solution to ease the burden - a six-Test summer - is only debated in private.

Meanwhile, Newell admits he is worried that the likes of Lumb, Hales and Patel, who accepted the county's hard line this year, might not always see his point of view.

"It does concern me," he said. "It is going to come up again regularly and it is an issue the counties have to address.

"Next year, because there is a World t20, the IPL is going to start later and push more into our season, which means it is going to cross over the start of our new t20 competition. Somebody is going to have to have a look at that aspect too.

"I think Hales is a bit young yet to be selling himself around the world but players who are 34 or 35 such as Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate will just do that. And down the line Michael Lumb might want to do it as well."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 2, 2013, 11:52 GMT)

Its funny how many go off on a tangent to the main story - its about Eng players being underpaid compared to Ind, WI, NZ, SA, SL & Oz players who play in the IPL or even in some domestic comps...

In Oz the basic wage for an average SS cricketer is over £50,000 (that doesn't include BBL wages that adds at least another £20,000) - in County (2013) if you are 18y.o. you get a basic wage of £12,009 while 24y.o. receives £18,653 yet play much more cricket... Yeah, that seems fair :P...

Matt Prior is one of the best keeper/batmens in the last few decades, yet gets a pittance to what Oz's top 6 Test cricketers get - really feel sorry for guys who give their all for their country yet get left out to dry by the ECB & County system...

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (April 2, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

People are talking about lack of interest in uk for IPL. I used to watch in setanta. Now ITV is showing it. Does it matter how many are watching or who is telecasting it? As long as somebody telecast it for those who want to watch and enjoy, it's fine. It's ITV 's 3rd or 4 th year of telecasting IPL, that means there are enough people watching it to make profit. IPL is an Indian domestic tournament and I'm sure high percentage of uk viewers are from Indian community.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 2, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

Why are the Eng fans saying their summer is so short?... In Oz, we get all our international duties done in Nov, Dec, Jan,Feb - usually with 6 Tests & a couple of ODI series, T20 + the BBL... Can't be that hard - can it?... Last Eng summer it took May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep to do the same - seems the ECB is pushing Tests earlier into May - sours grapes?... It would be better to have T/20's & ODI's in May with Tests later - ODI's can be played in wetter conditions & shortened (D/L) while washed out Tests are a bore...

Posted by ThyrSaadam on (April 1, 2013, 14:33 GMT)

For all those skeptical about IPL's longevity should just reconsider their notion, as the IPL is already in its 6th edition. So it is here to stay. I think ECB should be smart and atleast provide its centrally contracted players something like a bonus to avoid IPL or pay as much as a top player in IPL would. As for the Lumbs, Hales' its sad but true that they would probably not represent their country in test/odi formats and so should be given a bonus amount of what an avg player would make in the IPL if they stayed to play the County Season.

Posted by DaveGCI on (April 1, 2013, 7:35 GMT)

@YS_USA You have to live in UK to appreciate how pathetic that audience is. That's the maximum for the channel not the IPL. The IPL will be watched by a fraction of that average of 250,000. You could put three English players in each team and it would not make a difference. It is not a tournament that millions of people outside of India care about. I repeat what i put in my earlier post, if it really mattered Sky Sports would be interested. It isn't. And Sky never misses an opportunity to increase its subscriber base.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 31, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

If IPL was scheduled to run in October/November then only Emg;lish players would turn up,or wouldall the other country's players forsake their own domestic competition. The fact that IPL doesn't even run in the normal Indian season seems to say it all. |They just od not care about us or the international calendar and are art best like cuckoo's invqading other bird's nests. Why should we kowtow to them?

Posted by YS_USA on (March 31, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

DaveGCI, It is a domestic tournament and its exploits will be always secondary to tests, OIDs and T20s, but it is surprising that "average audience is 250,000 and whose peak audience was 3.5m." in UK while there are no British players in the IPL.

Posted by DaveGCI on (March 31, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

@Ys_USA articles yes, but who will remember any players for IPL exploits in 20, 30, 50 or 100 years time? My answer is still no one. The IPL is a domestic competition. Nothing more. And if it was really that important, why hasn't Sky Sports shown any interest in it? Instead it's shown on some ITV digital channel whose average audience is 250,000 and whose peak audience was 3.5m. for simultaneous broadcast with ITV 1 of Bradley Wiggins, a British hero, winning the Tour de France

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