County news January 29, 2013

Essex could get tough on IPL absentees


Essex have indicated they could follow Nottinghamshire's example in future seasons by banning their players from taking part in the IPL during the English season as signs grow that the counties are considering a firmer line towards the tournament.

Paul Grayson, Essex's head coach, has admitted the issue has become a regular topic of discussion for the Essex committee as they consider withdrawing permission for their players to pursue IPL deals in 2014.

England's managing director, Hugh Morris, confirmed after their one-day tour of India that England's Test programme would remain sacrosanct and there would be no concessions in the new central contracts currently under negotiation and due to come into force in September.

England's centrally-contracted players who are in the running to play the first Test against New Zealand have to return by May 5 which entails missing nearly half the IPL which runs from April 3 to May 26.

The counties are responsible for issuing No Objection Certificates for players contracted directly by them - and the disruption they face is even greater with the Championship season beginning on April 10.

Nottinghamshire became the first county to stand firm and protect the integrity of the county season. Faced by losing Michael Lumb, Samit Patel and Alex Hales for the first part of the new season, a period which could conceivably end their Championship ambitions, Notts' director of cricket, Mick Newell, instructed his players not to put themselves in the IPL auction on February 3.

Essex's problems run just as deep. Ravi Bopara will be in the IPL auction and could become a third Essex player to potentially miss six County Championship matches and three CB40 fixtures of the new season. Ryan ten Doeschate already has a deal with Kolkata Knight Riders and Owais Shah is signed to Rajasthan Royals.

"It's something we keep discussing on a regular basis about what we're going to do," Grayson told the Essex Chronicle. "Eventually we might make a decision and say: 'Enough is enough: you either play for Essex or you play somewhere else'.

"Some counties are putting a stop to it and not letting their players go. Notts were the first ones that said if their lads go to the IPL then they don't play for Notts. It's up to them what they decide to do."

Middlesex will also suffer as Eoin Morgan has a contract with Kolkata but, as an England-contracted player, he is not bound by the wishes of his county. Last season Morgan played a full season of IPL when he was dropped from the England Test side and should be available to do so again with his selection for England's Tests against New Zealand in May unlikely after his exclusion from the tour party for New Zealand in March.

Essex do have control of their players because they are not centrally contracted and, although no decision about future policy has been reached, Grayson said the club are working with the ECB and the Professional Cricketers Association to avoid potential legal problems.

Their fear is that the situation could lead to players moving to counties willing to grant them a window to be available in the IPL. Only if all 18 counties followed the principle that the county season came first would English cricket avoid some high-profile transfers and even then they might not be able to hold the line against overseas players hoping for an IPL deal.

"If they're under contract, players can't do anything about it," Grayson said. "But if they're at the end of their contract they might go to another club that lets them go to the IPL, if that's what they want to do.

"It can be a bit of a problem but it gives one or two of the younger lads a chance to go out and show what they can do; the Mickleburghs, the Westleys and Foakes can come in and the others will have to wait their turn before they come back in to the side. Just because they go to the IPL there's no guarantee they'll walk back in to the side. You've got to be loyal to players, it works both ways."

Despite missing Shah and ten Doeschate for the first part of last season, Essex began well, winning one and drawing four of their opening five matches. When Shah returned, Essex lost to Derbyshire in their next match. But overall both Shah and ten Doeschate enjoyed good seasons. Shah made 589 runs in eight first-class matches at 49.08 and ten Doeschate 412 runs at 45.77 from his nine games as well as their impact in the limited-overs formats. Such players are not lightly lost.

Essex had batting cover at the start of the season with South African batsman Alviro Petersen playing seven matches, although he only managed 90 runs in 10 innings either side of making 145 against Glamorgan. This season, Essex have signed Rob Quiney, the Australian batsman, for the whole campaign.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno at no point did I say "ours is best - and the rest is bad" If someone wishes to follow the IPL good luck to them, it's no skin off my nose. I would simply prefer that it didn't take away players from the English International and County season. As for KP facts speak for themselves, he's playing Test Cricket on the ECB's terms and conditions, you either accept it or you don't, in England it's the team that comes first not the individual "star"

  • Cricinfouser on January 30, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno - You've still missed the point. By definition, all the overseas 'stars' were nurtured by another country, whether they are from England, South Africa, Australia, Barbados or even Ireland. If, as it appears, the IPL needs to recruit such players, they are reliant on other countries' development programmes. OK, according to you the ECB are irrelevant, but what about the rest of the non Indian cricketing world? @abcdef_12345 - Try thinking that one through. Change the county schedule so that the six weeks of IPL are tacked on to the end of the current season. Ever been to England in October and November?

  • John on January 30, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Some real dirge posted on this thread. With guys like Clarke and Bob wasting their time trying to talk sense into the blinkered brigade. The fact is that none of the many overseas stars debuted in IPL , they were all picked up because of the form they have shown in/for their own countries.

  • John on January 30, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    @SyedAreYouDumb on (January 29 2013, 21:14 PM GMT) You're possibly right to a degree. I also think Indian franchises pick marquee names who are not necessarily the best players of the format. Also , I think they're more likely to go for a batsman who can hit a long ball than a bowler who can bowl some tight overs. I think Lumb and Hales would have had fair chances of playing (Lumb has played there before) and if I was an IPL franchise selector/bidder I'd go for Swann and Tredwell although I'm not sure either will be made available by the powers that be

  • Mark on January 30, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    Apart from the money, the IPL is vastly overrated. Just look at the Champions League and how successful the IPL teams were, despite being able to cherry pick some of the better players who were eligible for their "home teams". That's why the IPL needs the overseas players to try and make it attractive to viewers. However, some of those who do go the IPL from England actually end up sitting around watching whilst their English counties play cricket without them. How many games did Collingwood play last time? Would Bopara or Shah get a game for their IPL team? I think the English counties need to unite and adopt a common policy, perhaps led by the players union so there is consistency across the board.

  • Indian on January 30, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    @clarke501 : I'll say this again... NONE of the IPL stars (in true sense of the word) have been "nurtured" by ECB in ANY manner. KP was nurtured in South Africa, Eoin Morgan in Ireland... there are NO other ECB contracted players who can be called stars - playing in IPL. Is that clear?

  • mohammad on January 30, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Why does English county not change its schedule.Once upon a time, every players dream was to play in county, but this days have gone.It is now IPL,BPL,BBL which attracts players more with money.

  • Cricinfouser on January 30, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno - If the IPL was purely a domestic competition with no overseas players you would be absolutely right. However, as it evidently needs players from overseas, whether 'stars' or journeymen, it must to an extent be dependent on the countries which develop those players. @sachin_vvsfan - counties play 4 day matches too. An NOC can only be issued by the body holding the player's contract. As the article explains, the ECB is only involved in respect of centrally contracted players, the rest are contracted to counties.

  • Jeff on January 30, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    Its a no brainer. A player is contracted to a county, and the IPL clashes with it. The county gain nothing whatsoever from losing the player to the IPL, so why let them go there? And what is this nonsence about the BCCI providing 70% of 'crickets' revenue? What exactly is 'cricket'? True the BCCI makes far more money than the other boards, but NONE of that money goes to 'cricket'. All the money goes to is internal projects inside India, and to the 2-3 best T20 players of each country. If Indian cricket vanished tonight, it would have no effect whatsoever on the viability of cricket as a game. County players would still be paid, groundsmen in Sydney would still be paid, local league cricket would carry on getting played. In fact there would only be THREE MEN in the WHOLE of England affected by it - KP, Morgan and Shah (the players with current IPL deals)

  • Indian on January 30, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @bobmartin : None of the IPL stars have been "nurtured" by ECB. The stars I'm talking about are in the league of Dhoni/ Sachin/ Sehwag etc. BCCI generates more than 70% of the games revenue... so no.. IPL does not need or depend upon ECB in ANY manner. I'm sure the opposite is true as well (and that's good for the game).