England's Pietersen dilemma

Dravid wants 'give-and-take' between IPL and Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 16, 2012

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Erstwhile IPL mates Rahul Dravid and Kevin Pietersen share a lighter moment, England v India, 4th Test, The Oval, 4th day, August 21, 2011
Rahul Dravid on Kevin Pietersen: "The game is a loser when the top players don't play Test cricket." © Getty Images
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Rahul Dravid, the former India batsman, has said that creating a window for the Indian Premier League would not only let the world's best players participate in the lucrative domestic Twenty20 tournament but, importantly, also allow them to play Test cricket, thereby enlivening the longer format.

"The reality is the IPL is an important tournament and people do want to play it," Dravid said on BBC's Test Match Special at Lord's during the third Test between England and South Africa. "And we are probably coming to a stage where maybe a time will come [when] there will need to be give-and-take - whether it is finding a window, or, whether making the tournament a little shorter."

Dravid was asked by the TMS host Jonathan Agnew whether the IPL, a tournament that lasts for close to two months, had played a big role in Kevin Pietersen falling out with the ECB and losing support from his teammates, which led to him missing the Lord's Test. Dravid, who is in London to attend the MCC cricket committee meetings, was not sure if the IPL was the reason for the Pietersen debacle. He said a solution was necessary considering the IPL would continue to clash with the start of the England cricketing summer and Test cricket could not afford losing big names such as Pietersen and Chris Gayle.

Pietersen had stirred a controversy in April when he said England were jealous of the IPL. A month later, he retired from limited-overs cricket, saying he wanted to focus only on Tests. That decision came on the heels of exhaustive discussions with the ECB, where Pietersen said he wanted to play only Test and Twenty20 cricket. But the ECB central contracts state that any player who makes himself unavailable for either format of limited-overs cricket is automatically ruled out of selection for both ODIs and T20s.

"There are some positives with the IPL and you have to understand that if the top players in the world want to play it and people want to watch then there is got to be some thing good about it is as well," Dravid said. "It does effect the England season particularly, and, especially since traditionally the English season has been the same for many, many years. So it is challenging that a little bit.

"In time we are getting to that stage where all of us want the best players playing [Test cricket]. We all want Chris Gayle playing for West Indies whenever West Indies play a Test match. None of us want to see a situation today where a great player like Kevin misses out today for whatever reasons and I don't want to get into that. But it is disappointing. The game is a loser when the top players don't play Test cricket."

Dravid, who led Rajasthan Royals in the previous IPL, felt that for Test cricket to continue attracting fans and remain marketable, it was important that the best players were always available for selection. Leaving out the likes of Gayle and Pietersen, Dravid felt, would only drive the fans away.

"I am not sure what the solution to it is exactly but I would love to be in a situation where the best players can play the IPL as well as represent their country in Test cricket. People like Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen are fantastic for Test cricket as they are for IPL and T20 cricket. And they have a short window in which to show us their talent. At the end of the day this is the game for the fans. The best players should represent their country - it is not only about the people who come to the ground. It is also for the young boys and girls who passionately follow their country in Test cricket. It is hard and disappointing when the best players don't turn up to play for their country."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by siri21 on (August 19, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

i dont think its a fair idea to give a separate window for IPL .. bcoz in the future the situation might arise where players would prematurely retire from international duties and just play IPL for 2 months and earn more than what they get from playing internationall matches.. and players in the future doesnt dream for international spot any more they just would be more than happy getting selected in the IPL auction..

Posted by   on (August 19, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

ipl is defintely the best thing that happened for the world cricket .....not only it has raised the standard of T20...but it also had make people earn big time ..from players to franchise owners...everyone involved there is earning big.... and i hate ECB policy for kevin peterson ..... i suppose if they had allowed KP to play IPL then he would have performed 1000 times better for englands test matched......you cant understimate the serious talent that KP has......

Posted by   on (August 19, 2012, 1:49 GMT)

I completely agree @ahmed hussain odis are the best format, test cricket is dead nd i love t20s but if a team is supose 50-4 in 13 ovs, its game over already but the best darn thing bout odis is that they are not as borin as tests but there are always comebacks.Who can forget the 438 match or the 1999 CWC semi final or even Ire's thumping of Eng last CWC where KOB scored a smashing century to lead them home after they had lost 5 wkts for 111. its these moments that make 50 ovs the best format. u dont get to see dem in t20s and definitely not in tests(boring!!)

Posted by satheeshkumar.m on (August 18, 2012, 13:50 GMT)

I am an Indian but I disagree with Dravid. IPL is a domestic tournament and no domestic tournament should get such a special privilege.

Posted by Metro-ant on (August 18, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

Dravid's right when he says the best players should be playing test cricket but giving room for a domestic tournament?

Posted by WalterHP on (August 18, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

The IPL is here to stay and good. it's another option for both fans and professionals. the ECB is part of the backward looking English establishment, hoping to turn back the clock. But Cricket is no longer an English game, and England no longer rules the world. The MCC is an English thing and the ICC now sits in Asia. KP and Gayle are pioneers.. India has money to pay and county cricket in England has no following and no money.These are the facts......the rest is interpretation.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (August 18, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

@Jerry Kurian ,I was thinking the same thing why not split the IPL into 2 halves in Mar-Apr and Sep-Oct of the same year and get rid of the Champions League which no one watches anyway. That way I think u wouldnt encroach too much on any other countries international commitments

Posted by getsetgopk on (August 18, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

IPL should be renamed as Indian Premier Hoopla LOL and that would be so fitting, a hoopla needs no window or anything because its a hoopla already heheehhe

Posted by   on (August 18, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

By saying that the best players should play both T20 and Tests, does Dravid indirectly sound a death knell to the 50 over format - a fact that most cricket commentators talk about these days !!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 18, 2012, 2:23 GMT)

@Ahmed Hussain: My friend.. I could give you a big hug right now lol. I mean you are right in your statement on test cricket. A lot of people are SCARED to even admit they don't follow test cricket. I am not one of them. I have made it public how much I despise the oldest form of the game. Sure, some countries can still play test cricket all they want. I do respect it being the oldest form of the sport. I don't even mind test cricket surviving throughout my lifetime. I just wish it doesn't INTERFERE with my T20 cricket. T20 is the BEST format in terms of entertainment, result orientation, duration, attraction, marketability, easiness in understanding the rules etc. And the players LOVE playing it. Ask any test level player and he will tell you. If you ask me, the IPL has pioneered something special. Even the ODI form is a good one though I am not sure about meaningless ODI fixtures here and there. I have no regret about being a fan of T20 cricket.

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