England news February 14, 2013

Prior warns of IPL 'frustration'


Matt Prior has said the ECB may be forced to reconsider its international schedule with a view to allowing England players more opportunity to appear in the IPL.

Wicketkeeper Prior, a key member of England's Test side, has warned that England players are becoming "frustrated" at the limitations imposed upon their participation in the league and has suggested the ECB may need to reflect on the idea of scheduling international games in May.

As things stand, an uneasy compromise exists between the ECB and its contracted players. That compromise allows England players to appear in the IPL for around a month but renders them far less attractive to franchises. Prior was among the England players who went unsold in this year's IPL auction. The 2013 IPL season runs from April 3 to May 26, but the ECB have insisted their players are back in England by May 5 in order to prepare for England's international season, which begins on May 16 with a Test against New Zealand at Lord's.

Prior, while reiterating that his priority remained Test cricket, admitted the lure of the big money available to players in the IPL was hugely attractive and suggested that the scheduling of England games for May "may have to change" in the future.

"If you ask any Englishman or Australian, 'would you rather score a T20 hundred or an Ashes hundred?' I know which one most people would go with," Prior told the BBC. "But guys are going to start looking at it. I know for a fact that players want to play in the IPL. You can't get away from the fact that there is an enormous amount of money at stake.

"I'm employed by the ECB, so I do what the ECB says right now. If that's when the Test matches are, then that's when the Test matches are. My priority is playing Test cricket for England and when I am needed to play Test cricket for England I will play.

"The IPL and these Twenty20 competitions are not going away. People love them and the players enjoy playing in them, so there are going to be more and more people getting frustrated at the lack of opportunity to play in the IPL. So things may have to change in time."

Prior's comments do not account for the fact that even if the ECB rescheduled international games to ensure there was no clash with the IPL, the strength of the county game would be diluted by widespread departures, which might, in time, lead to a drop in the quality of the international side. That, in turn, could lead to a reduction in the worth of broadcast deals.

Nottinghamshire have already refused to release their players for the 2013 IPL season, claiming the withdrawals would undermine their attempts to win domestic trophies during the English season. Prior, who was granted a lucrative benefit season by Sussex in 2012, is contracted to play for the club when his England commitments allow. As a beneficiary of a central contract, Prior is also well remunerated for other limitations in his availability.

The IPL is not the only league likely to coincide with the English season in years to come. If the ECB sets a precedent by seeking to avoid a clash with the IPL, it would be hard to argue against a window for the Caribbean, Pakistan, Sri Lankan or American leagues.

Prior might also reflect on the reasons behind England's busy schedule. It is, in part at least, designed to meet the salary demands of international players as well as ensuring they have access to the best facilities and coaching. Any cut in the schedule would lead to subsequent cuts in the value of broadcast deals - which account for around 80% of the ECB's income - and would reduce the funds available not just to the England team, but the first-class counties, grassroots cricket and the women's game.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sandeep on February 17, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    England and Aus can conduct T20 tournaments like IPL. These players can play in it. But when it comes to IPL they dont want their players to participate. Even in southafrican T20 they can participate.Why these descrimination. these boards try to spread that IPL destroying cricket and all. But these other tournamets is conducting in proper way. they spread messages like this.

  • Kiran on February 16, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @ Bob martin -- I guess thats the problem with the poms and aussies. Ashes is NOT the only test series that is being played. There are a zillion other test series that are being played. How many spectators are coming for the NZ vs ENG test series that will be played? Lets see and compare them with the number of people who attended the T20s. Even in the last ashes series in Australia I could find tons of empty seats in the stadia. You can check the highlights. Infact at one stage I could see more England supporters than Aussies in the crowd. So much for the "following" of test cricket. There is a superb test match happening in South Africa right now and look at the attendance. I would say there would be more people in the local T20 competition than this so called "test" match. You can run but can not hide from the facts and the fact is that audiences love T20s. It is like theater and movies. Theater might demand more from artists but it is the movies which attract more audiences.

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    England season is too long. Thats what makes players unavailable for most other leagues. It starts in April and Ends in Sept. I guess every country gives now a much shorter window. BCCI has Ranji Trophy in Jan-Feb instead of March-April earlier giving clear window for Domestic T20 and IPL. England will be last to implement anything in the name of conservatism and their better players will comparatively remain one of the least paid of them all.

  • Roo on February 16, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    @George Dobell :- "Prior is also well remunerated for other limitations in his availability"...

    With England players only getting 1/2 the central contract $ compared to Oz & Prior also missing out on ODI/T20 payments he is the probably one of the lowest paid Eng players... Add to that he is the best Test wicketkeeper going around, he deserves to be upset at scheduling & wages...

    Prior could move to Oz, play Shield, Ryobi & BBL to get better wages than he does now... His batting is a good as Clarkes in T20 with a better s.r. so he could pick up a IPL contract easily doubling his wages & have the nthn summer off to relax with family... For Matt, playing for his country comes at a very high cost to him & his family compared to many less credential players...

  • t on February 15, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    @ Barsac on (February 14, 2013, 21:40 GMT) "If the Indian Test and one day side started winning some series...". so winning the 2011 world cup not good enough for you? but of courses eng have been poor in WC's so it cant be worth anything can it. also till the slide last year (due to some greats leaving/at end of their career) we were doing very well in tests too. we were # 1 in fact (& for much longer than Eng were).

    @ jb633 on (February 15, 2013, 0:33 GMT) "if you speak to cricket fans they will always say that they care about how their country fares in test cricket, yet the attendances in Asia in particular remain low"... yes & they're only going to fall. no one has the time to spend 5 days watching a game. so they'll read the scores at the end of the day/match but wont actively participate like in limited overs.

  • John on February 15, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    @Rajan Nagarajan on (February 15, 2013, 2:17 GMT), you do know that England and Australia are in different hemisphere's, right? The IPL clashes with the England home season in the northern summer but not with Australia's home season on the southern summer. The Australian season is well and truly over by the time the IPL starts. Can you point to any Australian players with central contracts who have been allowed to play in the IPL in preference to national duty? Your comparison has no logical basis.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    The IPL encroaches on part of the English domestic season and other T20 leagues will run during it as well. If England's big name players are going to be absent abroad playing T20 the star power of home games will be absent and this will damage ECB revenue.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    @cric_gates: My point was about the products of the so-called free market organisations. Players like Gautam Gambhir, Garaeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Ian Bell, Alastair Cook, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Saeed Ajmal are classical crickters and their genus will never be extinct. And people like Warne, Waughs were falsely branded by @Front-Foot_Lunge as "free market players"; they were always committed to Test cricktet. The true products of IPL-style crickters are Paul Valthaty, Sawapnil Asnodkar, Maxwell etc.

    Ask yourself a question: how much did Hashim Amla fetch in the IPL auction? A rhetorical question, as we know he wasn't a part of the auction. That's what you call honour. Hashim Amla is one of the best modern crickters and he certainly doesn't need IPL's validation to prove his worth.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    @ cric_gates: Yes, they haven't done well in ODI world cups after 1992. I never claimed they were the world beaters in ODIs. Yes, that's a flaw but the same applies to New Zealand (they are good in ODIs but downright inept in Test cricket these days and there's clearly a dearth of talent). Most of the teams aren't good in every format nowadays. West Indies haven't been spectacular after the 1983 ODI world cup; their Test team has declined gradually but the T20 team rocks.

    Well, if West Indies wins a T20 world cup, it's considered a spectacular acheivement. But when England wins it, everyone disregards it; have same standards at least. The financial state of West Indies crickter is pathetic and New Zealand's is ordinary, while English crickters are well paid in comparison.

  • shahid on February 15, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    @Josh Maddy England team might be oldest but they haven't won 50 over world cup.they haven't reached semifinal of world cup since 1992.Infact their performence is declining with every the world cup.I am sure in world cup 2015 they will not reach in quater final too.As compare to west indies, they r two time world champ n currently t 20 champ.New zealand r consistant in world cup.the only team to reach semi final 6 in a row.no comment about zimbabwe.Just a one n only one major tournament eng won 2010 t 20 n i m sure they r going to remember it for 200 year despite trying to win another one. strong team like india,australia pakistan n south africa r smarter.when they see their team hav to play 1 day ot t 20 with england,they smartly send their B or C grade team to play.smart move to test their benchstrength.