ECB issues statement regarding availability for winter tours
In response to media reports concerning the availability of players for England's winter tours, the Chairman of Selectors, David Graveney, said today:
"In recent weeks, the England selectors have held discussions with a number of senior players regarding their availability for this winter's tours of India and New Zealand.
"As in the winter of 2000-1, two separate six-month contracts will be offered to players to cover the Test Series and ODI series in both countries.
"The selectors have acted in close consultation with the England team management and the ECB's Cricket Operations Department. Every effort has been made to look after the players' interests with regards to the demands of this year's winter schedule and the itinerary for India has been arranged in order to enable the players to spend Christmas at home.
"It is also the selectors' intention to include a number of younger players in the Zimbabwe ODI squad in order to progress the development of this squad ahead of the next World Cup. Senior players not chosen for this trip will therefore have up to ten weeks' rest before the tour to India departs in mid-November.
"The selectors' approach to this issue has been flexible. 'Test-only' contracts for this winter have been offered to certain players to allow them to rest from the One-Day programme and this offer remains on the table. However, the selectors feel it would set a dangerous precedent to allow players to pick and choose which elements of a winter tour they are prepared to undertake."