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Cash versus country for England's players

Cricinfo staff

January 17, 2009

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Will a scorned Pietersen be lured by the IPL's millions? © Getty Images
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The cash-versus-country debate is rearing its head following the news yesterday that Lalit Modi, the head of the Indian Premier League, wants England's players to make themselves available for four weeks each year, increasing the likelihood that some members will have to decide between national pride and life-changing sums of money.

The ECB held talks with Modi during England's tour of India late last year, and it was thought that the two parties had agreed on England's players appearing in the IPL for just 15 days. Now, however, Modi's demands - as reported in the Daily Telegraph - could force players to choose between representing England in the series against West Indies next May or hot-foot it to India to earn their millions.

The difficulty ECB faces is ensuring they protect both their investments: firstly Test cricket, which remains a big-earner for the board and the grounds in England, and secondly players' wishes to make serious amounts of money.

"This development is a serious concern," Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, told the Telegraph. "We are working through this with the ECB but clearly it is a concern to India and has a potential impact on English cricket. If we are the only country to have players not appearing in the IPL then that would not be a good prospect."

The IPL is due to span six weeks, beginning provisionally on April 10 with the final on May 29, and if the ECB allows its players to play in India then they will miss the first Test against West Indies at Lord's on May 6.

Kevin Pietersen, the recently axed England captain, is just one high-profile name to have expressed interest in playing in the IPL. Although he reaffirmed his keeness to play for England and score a mountain of runs, Modi and his millions could yet lure him and other players.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Aradhya22 on (January 19, 2009, 10:10 GMT)

I think that through all these comments and stories the spirit of Cricket should not be ignored in any way. Test Cricket is and should be the top and preferred category for cricketers. I do not mean that T20s should be ignored or left out for contention. Its on a players decision whether he should play for country or for the money. England recent for has been a downfall for both ECB and England players, so their first priority is to play for their country, after both of them are satisfied from performance and after England recovers, then IPL should be considered. Or the debacle of UK in cricket will continue till its very end. Aradhya

Posted by SummerofGeorge on (January 18, 2009, 21:10 GMT)

The reason the Windies are coming here for a back to back series is because Sri Lanka pulled out because of the IPL.

It's the heart of the english summer when our test following supporters want to go to matches.

Why should we not have any home test matches at that time because half a dozen players wish to line their own pockets playing fatuous beach cricket?

Why is the ECB greedy for wanting to have a home tet program in it's own summer? The revenue raised goes to the counties and to help out grass roots cricket in this country. That is what they are supposed to be protecting, not the rights of fancy dans to make a fortune buggering about.

The argument that it's a short career is incorrect, the only ones who will make money in the IPL are the alleged superstars,they already make a fortune in interviews, appearence fees and sponsorship, it won't do a damn thing for quality test match players who don't already get the TV dollar.

Posted by _IndianCricketFan on (January 18, 2009, 20:19 GMT)

Some of you really need to stop going all nuts on the IPL and BCCI. The IPL "wants" English players to take part, they're not dragging them in by force. And don't talk as if the English players are puppets who can be dragged away by just anyone. They are capable of making decisions. If they play in the IPL, its because they WANT TO, not because someone from India came and carried them away. Stop and try being logical.

Posted by CricketShines on (January 18, 2009, 18:33 GMT)

"Firstly, the IPL have no right to dictate to any country their schedule or induce players to re-arrange a boards schedule".... IPL is not dictating any other board. If some one mentions terms and conditions to enter a contract, that doesn't amount to dictating others.

"Secondly, England have been playing tests in May for longer than the IPL, so maybe the IPL ought to move their schedule if they want England players so badly?"

Most of us know whether IPL need ECB players or ECB players need IPL (remember Stanford) One thing other boards need to remember, India has got the most important aspect rite, in commoditizing IPL - 1.1 billion (90% of Indian population)people backing their players, which no other country can boast of in absolute numbers. Large numbers matter. It is sad that other countries are struggling to keep pace with BCCI (financial) but BCCI shall act responsible in taking the game to countries it had never been before. All in all, it is CAPITALISM at it best in sports

Posted by uknsaunders on (January 18, 2009, 16:08 GMT)

Firstly, the IPL have no right to dictate to any country their schedule or induce players to re-arrange a boards schedule.Secondly, England have been playing tests in May for longer than the IPL, so maybe the IPL ought to move their schedule if they want England players so badly? The ECB (and any other board) have to make money and test matches against nearly anyone in the top 8 are very lucrative. Maybe if the IPL want CONTRACTED players so badly they should arrange compensation to be made to the ECB? This should apply to all countries who loan players under contract to the IPL, as I'm fairly certain no board wants their players flogging their guts out for 6 weeks and then playing a test series a week later! Then again the IPL is really about greed and has no interest in giving anything back to world cricket...

Posted by dancingjetcat on (January 18, 2009, 11:58 GMT)

this is a perfect example of why the ICC is not fit for purpose. ok so maybe they were taken aback by how successful the IPL turned out to be, but its now patently obvious that the FTP needs adjusting(at the very least) to allow a window for the IPL to take place. if the IPL occupies the May/June timeslot then early season Test Cricket in England is a non starter, because sooner or later the players will vote with their feet to make a fast buck. i feel the ECB has missed an oppotunity here. when the Zim series was cancelled, rather than try & arrange for another Test nation to take their place, all of whom would have players contracted to the IPL, they could have allowed Pietersen, Flintoff & 1 or 2 others to play in the IPL & arranged an EngXI vs Ire/Scot/Neth. side, which i'm sure would be as least as competetive an Eng. vs Zim. series, & lets be blunt here, a series nobody was really intreasted in.

Posted by dar268 on (January 18, 2009, 11:45 GMT)

Despite some enthralling recent matches, Test cricket is dying in the water. The top cricketers graciously find time in their increasingly T20 packed schedules to play Tests (or sometimes as in the case of Dhoni or Sri Lanka they don't) and we, the public, are supposed to be grateful. And it's going to get much worse very quickly and irreversibly. Our game is being destroyed.

Posted by Dan-argent on (January 18, 2009, 11:45 GMT)

I think this is disgusting. The ECB should tell Mr Modi that he has a two-week window for English players, like it or lump it. I think even that is too long. Players should always put their country first. Playing for England is the ultimate honour and should always be given top billing, not playing carnival cricket for some far-flung Indian 'franchise' no-one has ever heard of! If they wanted to earn bucketloads of money, they should have become footballers. Any English player who betrays his country by chasing a few million rupees should have his central contract torn up and/or be banned by the ECB from international and county cricket for three years.

Posted by AdsDad on (January 18, 2009, 11:07 GMT)

Sadly, I fear there can only be one winner here and perhaps the ECB should give way gracefully. We only started having tests in May a few years ago. The opposition is usually second tier and the weather often dreadful. We can live without them. Let's concentrate on the main series and start it in June (unless like this year there is an ICC event)

Posted by TwitterJitter on (January 18, 2009, 8:49 GMT)

Both parties have legitimate gripe here. In England's case, it will destroy their summer if players spend most of their time playing in the IPL. In IPL's case, the franchises don't want to spend money (or fill their quota) buying players who are available only for a fortnight and the governing council does not want to accept players into auction (thereby guaranteeing a minimum amount) if franchises are not interested.The ball is in players court. However, there should technically be only one winner in this unless there is a negotiated win-win settlement and that should be English cricket because it is far more important to preserve English cricket than for English players to play in the IPL.

What are your thoughts? Have your say on the cash-versus-country debate
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