Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Cricket's schedule is unsustainable

Like a certain international currency, it is under threat of collapsing unless administrators ease the strain

Ian Chappell

June 3, 2012

Comments: 62 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen's last ODI century came in November 2008, Pakistan v England, 3rd ODI, Dubai, February, 18, 2012
The England board forced Kevin Pietersen's hand in him giving up both ODIs and T20s © Getty Images

The head of the European Central Bank has just warned EU leaders that the euro currency union is unsustainable. I wonder what he'd make of international cricket.

The news that Kevin Pietersen will no longer play the limited-overs formats for England and will probably join the growing band of cricket mercenaries should be enough to prompt a change of thinking by the game's hierarchy. But I wouldn't advise anyone to hang by the neck while waiting for that change of heart.

Nevertheless, the administrators must realise that international cricket needs the limited number of top-class players to perform on that stage as well as ply their considerable skills for domestic T20 leagues. It's their unworkable schedule that in many cases forces players to make harsh choices.

Pietersen's preferred option was to play two versions of the game for England - Tests and T20s. However, the ECB is adamant players must be prepared to commit to both short forms of the game or else play neither. I've long held the view that something has to give if the game of cricket is to survive as a global sport and that the most likely casualty will be the 50-over game.

At the time the IPL was mooted, in order to combat the rebel ICL, I felt the timing was right to have a round table meeting involving all the game's stakeholders, from players and administrators to television executives and sponsors, to hammer out a workable blueprint for the future so that all versions of the game could progress cohesively. The foresight and unity of purpose necessary were lacking and that golden opportunity was missed. Soon the administrators will have no choice but to accept the second-best option, of being forced into making changes. The game seems destined to experience an occasional eruption resulting in a power struggle between players and administrators.

There was the occasional 19th-century battle of wills over bowling actions, but the first major stoush occurred in the early 20th century. Up until then, certainly in Australia, the players had largely controlled the purse strings. The signs were ominous in 1909 when the Imperial Cricket Conference was formed. Then in 1911 there was a player revolt when Australia's "Big Six" refused to tour England in a futile attempt to retain the control they had over the split of the takings. When the Australian players lost that battle, the administrators gained the upper hand and, consequently, a strong hold on the purse strings. This rapidly became a vice-like grip until the World Series Cricket split in 1977, when the administrators' stranglehold on the finances was finally broken.

In the aftermath of that revolution the players received better pay and conditions improved. Nevertheless the administrators retained control over the players, because representing your country was still a cricketer's best way to fame and a moderate fortune.

That balance changed dramatically with the advent of the IPL. Unwittingly the administrators ceded firm control to the players in devising the IPL, and once the inaugural auction was held the cricketers had more choice. Representing your country became only one of the options, and in many cases it was far from the most lucrative one.

With T20 leagues popping up like daisies in spring, not only are the players spoilt for choice but the now seriously overloaded international schedule wouldn't be workable even if the administrators decided to adopt the Martian year to avail themselves of an extra couple of hundred days. The current cricket schedule is on par with the euro: it's simply unsustainable.

If Pietersen does embark on a mercenary's career and it leads to further erosion of administrative power, it will underline the shift: the European Central Bank endures the acronym ECB, the same as the England board, which until recently laboured under the misapprehension that it controlled Pietersen.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by jay57870 on (June 6, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

(Cont) Like it or not, IPL is here to stay. It's a sanctioned sport: the ultimate destination for many of the world's best. So, what needs to be the "change of thinking by the game's hierarchy"? For starters, ICC must establish a 6-7 week "IPL window". Look at the major sports leagues (MLB/NFL/NBA/NHL) in USA. Each league has 30 teams with a continuous schedule - training camps, regular season & playoffs - of about 8-9 months (NFL 6 mos). The regular baseball season: 162 games each team, 3 hours or so each game. It's a long arduous season with a team in contest every 1-2 days, incl. a grueling travel schedule across far-flung USA/Canada (+ harsh winters for NBA/NHL)! It's physically/mentally taxing with fatigue, injuries, slumps & attrition. Cricketers shouldn't complain. So, what's needed? Optimal scheduling. ICC must do a better job of balancing all 3 formats, especially FTP. Many good ideas have been posted: ICC must apply them! Ian, the cricket calendar is workable & sustainable!

Posted by jay57870 on (June 6, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

(Cont) Today's youth & kids know it: Modern cricket is not your father's Packer-WSC union of rebel players. Nor your grandfather's bowling revolutionaries & body-line head-hunters. Today's reality: The IPL genie is out of the bottle. It's hard to put it back in, given its relentless can-do spirit. Yet, Ian claims he would have called a "round table meeting involving the game's stakeholders" re: IPL so as to "combat the rebel ICL"! What hypocrisy! The same Chappell who played a dubious central role in organizing the breakaway WSC & poaching players for Packer; not to mention the rebel tours of South Africa. And now he's worried about KP joining the "growing band of cricket mercenaries"? It's vintage Chappell - the "rebel skipper" - on his high horse preaching about player revolt and how it might throw cricket into turmoil! The bottom-line: Misleading sermon based on erroneous premise that "cricket's schedule is unsustainable"! When Europe has a relapse, Chappell gets paranoid!(TBC)

Posted by jay57870 on (June 6, 2012, 1:04 GMT)

Ian - You know the old saw, when the Europe economy catches cold, the Euro-Zone gets pneumonia. Thankfully, the head of ECB (bank) does not have to worry about cricket: Soccer is undisputed king in E-Z land. The head of ECB (cricket) can breathe easy (no pun intended): England is not part of E-Z; plus KP still wants to play Tests! Whew. But seriously, does Ian really think that, like the looming E-Z meltdown, cricket is also "under threat of collapsing"? Really? Sounds like the same old half-baked "Bubble is Bursting" Chappell logic. Also like his doom-and-gloom prophecies. Even if Ian's all mixed up - confusing the "Martian year" with the Mayan calendar - his estimate is dangerously close: His Martian "extra couple of hundred days" to the schedule pushes cricket to the brink of the Mayan Doomsday of Dec. 21, 2012! OMG! Again, does Chappell seriously believe that cricket's schedule is as "unsustainable" and cataclysmic as the sinking E-Z union? LOL! Are you kidding, Ian? (TBC)

Posted by   on (June 5, 2012, 3:04 GMT)

Simple fix Ian. 50 overs cricket doesn't have to go. It has to be reduced, it's not very lucrative outside of Asia. I support the format of 3 test (less or more if needed), 3ODI's, and 5 T20's. The one and two T20 per tour is simply Icc stifling their conscience. You can not get rid of 50 overs cricket or else there will be no world cup. You can't do a world cup with test cricket, and a T20 world cup doesn't prove much. 50 overs cricket is the perfect test (no puns) to determine the worlds best cricket team. What cricket boards need is to be able to compete with T20 leagues financially. If T20 becomes the second main event to the 'test series', instead of being a couple of exhibition matches per tour, boards can make more money whilst giving int' limited overs some teeth and players some rest. I'm not doing away with 50 overs. Instead the 5 ODI series norm would be reduced to 3 matches. Give int' T20 some glamour hence making T20 leagues inferior. Can't win with IPL being superior.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

I am big fan of you Ian, but very very disappointed with your calling Pietersen a mercenary........hahaha ,its a big faulth by ECB,everybody know.u cant call KP lik this word. so mind it IAN........

Posted by Gizza on (June 4, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

I think 50 over cricket is important for developing cricket nations like Ireland and Afghanistan. It is too hard to jump from 20 over cricket to tests. But having said, it can definitely be cut down. 5 game ODI's max for bilateral series (but should be 3 most of the time, only if both teams are very even) and for tri-series each team plays the other twice. 50 over cricket is also the best way of determing a multi-team champion. A year 4 Test league won't work, even if there was no greedy or corruption in the game. I suspect that there will be lots of breathing space as long as the FTP isn't duplicated again and again (by that I mean says Ind playing Aus in 3 ODI series in 5 years and that just the ones in India!). And like some others have said, more ODI series should be played agains the emerging teams. At least Australia vs Ireland would be a breath of fresh air. Afghanistan should start touring countries as well or at least "host" games in the Middle East.

Posted by AnotherCricketFan on (June 4, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

The importance is revenue - not legacy, not purity. The viewership, especially television is paramount. Tests fail on that miserably. ODIs was a good solution (from 60 overs to 50 overs) and even that got boring - the middle overs. We have a generation that wants action, action, action and get it done in 3 hrs. NFL. NBA, MLB, NHL, All types of soccer, Rugby Tennis , Formula 1 - any widely popular TV based format. (Also I hate the ads in cricket - that is a diff story). And TV producers want that audience with FB, SMS, Twitter with limited time to do zillion things. Not the 50 something watching Dravid play a perfect defensive stroke. The only format of that is 20/20. IPL proved it. ICC should quickly abandon the other formats and prepare the gladiators for more engaging 20/20 battles. And 20/20 should stop hiring the aged (like Sachin, Murali, Gibbs ..) to play the gladiators - though the format extends their lifespan. Aggressive batting, fielding makes it a SPORT to WATCH. Not ODI.

Posted by NALINWIJ on (June 4, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

I agree with Meety that test championship is impractical and t20 world championship is too slapstick to have any validity and by default ODI 50 over world cups are the only way. We could leave t20 be a franchise based with test and 50 overs as the international matches of substance. i am not a fan of 2 test series and if it comes to that they should have such series in neighboring countries like the subcontinent or AUS-NZ where they could play 2 tests in either country for a 4 test combined series. I don't know how they can justify 15 tests between Aus and England in a short period. Australia can play all teat teams in a 4 year cycle if they play England one season and the other big six two per season and schedule Bangaladesh and Zimbabwe in the outback during winter.

Posted by Ramesh_Joseph on (June 4, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

The market should decide. The format which is least popular with the fans worldwide (except England) is Test Cricket. ODIs still bring in big crowds. Today ODIs and T20s are subsidising Test Cricket. On its own Test cricket is incapable of sustaining itself.

C'mon we are living in a world where everything is moving faster and faster and we have a game played over 5 days! Come the next generation and Test cricket will be dead. Tell me, how many youngsters (people in the 10-25 age group) are followers of Test Cricket?

Posted by   on (June 4, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

a) noone can blame players for following the money. Plan and assume they have little loyalty other than to the current paymaster - and the higher the paymaster, the higher the loyalty b) when the 'silly' money dries up, cricket will move on c) who at ICC 'insisted' that there must be 3 clear days between matches, even ODIs? it drags out meaningless series interminably. Play 2 in one location in 1 place in 2 days and move on d) accept that throughout the majority of the world (except England and Australia) test cricket is played in front of nearly empty stadia. Learn to live with the need for T20s to generate money for the game. If that means compromise, so be it e) as with earlier suggestiions re test cricket: 2 groups of 6; home and away 3 match series over 2 years. Top 2 promoted, bottom 2 relegated

Posted by fineprint on (June 4, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

how do we 'kill' talent and keep the game alive ? how do we pay 'peanuts' and keep talent ? 'peanut' of course is a relative term.

Posted by ansram on (June 4, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

Cricket is in danger of being reduced to several domestic T20 leagues in the near future.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

KP retiring is a big blow to International Cricket...a power hitter and an exquisite player when on song

Posted by RandyOZ on (June 4, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Chappell is 100% correct as usual. Politics and banter asides, we need to ensure the survival of test cricket. The fact that another 2 test series has been annouced (NZ v United XI) is utterly disgraceful. The ICC needs to ensure all series are minimum three tests long. How on Earth is South Africa not getting 5 tests in England. It makes me sick.

Posted by Romenevans on (June 4, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

ODI cricket is meaningless and it should be stopped immediately right after 2015 WC. T20 and Test is good enough for the combination of entertainment, Legacy and of course "Money" and everybody will be happy that way.

Posted by joseyesu on (June 4, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

Peterson is more suited to ODI and Test than to 2020. However an entertainer is sure going to be missed not only for England, but for the world. Only Aus are managing a captaincy proper than other teams. I saw Taylor, Steve, Ponting and now Clarke are captaining the team and it is reasonable numbers for the 2 decades. Recently Ponting(almost 7-8 yrs as captain) raised his concern of stepping ahead as captain instead of VC Warner as such was the issue in captaincy role. But ECB, I don't know how many captains they have changed...

Posted by Meety on (June 4, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

@TimelessTests/ gpmh79 - sorry I don't agree with the "Brand" is developed in Tests. I hold tests as the pinnacle, however, a lot of players are making their name in T20s long before they have earned a Test cap. This is occuring heavily in Oz of all places - Warner, Lyon, Doherty, Christian & Cummins are just a few, in the WI its Narine & Pollard & maybe Russell. Who knows - if Kiesweitter gets a Test cap? To me in regards KP, he is playing Tests for his legacy (apart from the thrill of the battle). Legacy is what will keep players playing Tests, as who's to say T20s won't be looked at as being stale, the way people do of ODIs 40 yrs later? In ten yrs from now - we may be playing "Super 6's" - six aside cricket over 6 oversas "Internationals"?????

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (June 4, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

The administrators are trying to get blood from a stone by packing the schedule with meaningless cricket. Everyone from Chappell to Boycott to Rahul Dravid have been shouting this from the rooftops for a few years now, but ICC and the cricket boards are not willing to listen. Well, Ian Chappell has got it absolutely right. The administrators can start by moth-balling ODIs.

Posted by asim229 on (June 4, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

Choose the wrong format to retire. His style of play suits more to T20 and Odis than test cricket.

Posted by Meety on (June 4, 2012, 0:00 GMT)

@Behind_the_bowlers_arm - I'd hate to see ODIs "phased out". Whilst I agree that t20s should be franchise based, I think the only viable format to crown a "World Champ" side is 50-overs. I love the thought of a Test championship, but I dunno if it will be implemented well & it will only ever be elitist. T20 W/Cup will be very inclusive, however, I think the skill sets are so-dumbed down it really doesn't say too much about the skill of the Champions. ODIs do need to be reduced in volume, doing a way with bilaterals of more than 3 games, & no bilaterals not linked to a test tour! I am all for tri-series or 4-nation events IF they include a minnow & only involve each team playing each other 2 maybe 3 times before a "Final". This would cut massive chunks out of the schedule, for example Oz would NOT be playing ODIs in Eng in June. The 5 ODIs we play the WI in Feb could be merged into a tri-series with SL, cutting out about 4matches & opening up an extra week or two.

Posted by TimelessTests on (June 3, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

@Stormy16: That's true but only for a while. Players make their name - their brand in effect - largely in the Test arena. Exclude them from that and quite soon the IPL will be staffed by even more B-listers than now as the availables have less and less true pedigree. It's a pivotal time for cricket although I still feel that, if played right, national boards acting cohesively hold a better hand than the IPL.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (June 3, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

I still believe that ICC should end ODI cricket after 2015 WC in australia. T2020 and Test cricket should make the balance right in future. Ian chappel has a point and no doubt soon ICC needs to understand the importance of money and T2020 cricket. Because it's attractive.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

Get rid of Bilateral International tours, have MEANINGFUL scheduled tournaments by Region or by combining continental teams. Making every international match important and raising the standard and PASSION

Posted by   on (June 3, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

You can either have predominantly club-based games (like in football and other games) or predominantly international games (like cricket used to be pre-IPL). What if England, Australia, South Africa, and the other countries also start their own versions of IPL on a similar scale?

Posted by stormy16 on (June 3, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Chapel makes a good point here. The advent of T20 and with huge paypackets is another change in the world of cricket that will require some adjustments that need to take place now. One thing that wont happen is threatening players with the opportunity to play for the country while denying them opportunity to play where they want when they want. All that will result is in an ugly player revoult. Today it is possible for a top player to just play T20 cricket around the world and earn more than a test cricketer so unless the administrators make the changes things will ugly.

Posted by Alexk400 on (June 3, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

T20 game is far better than snoozefest baseball in USA. T20 can even grow bigger than what it is now. For me i like 2 inning T20 with red ball (test ball) with swinging stuff which can remove Test from whole cricket.

Posted by Viv-Viru on (June 3, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

It is helpful to look into history. Ian Chappel scored 141 in helping his World Series Cricket Australia beat WI by 200 runs in the WSC 1977/78 series. Kerry Packer cricket was called a circus, something that would destroy cricket, and the players like Ian Chappel were called pirates and mercinaries and worse. But the fact is "players are now paid well for playing, and the superstars of today owe more than a passing nod of thanks to Packer for that. On the field, WSC innovations are commonplace throughout the game. They include floodlit matches, coloured kit, white balls, fielding circles, helmets, drop-in pitches and motorised drinks carts. Channel Nine also revolutionised television coverage of the sport," as documented by Martin Williamson.

Posted by Viv-Viru on (June 3, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

The underlying premise of articles like "Cricket's schedule is unsustainable", and much of the criticism of players who want to play for IPL and the IPL itself is that CRICKET means TEST CRICKET. It is like saying Computers means PCs, Storage means VHS tapes, and Journalism means News Papers. Also there is this extreme parochial view that any other form of cricket whether it is ODI or T20/IPL will take away fans from Test Cricket when we as cricket fans should be thinking of competing against other global sports - soccer, baseball, basket ball, tennis, golf, etc. for the fans and entertainment dollars. I would argue that this will grow cricket to ten times or ten thousand times of what it is today. Just imagine T20 leagues in the US, China, South America, Europe and far east. The argument Ian and other greats should be making is why is test cricket still not played in those regions after over 100 years?

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (June 3, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

I can think of a hundred intense and memorable scenarios in Test Cricket and ODI Cricket, but can't think of a single intense moment in T20 Internationals..... People assume that T20 is more popular than ODI's/Tests based on the crowds that turn up to the games. But there is fault with that idea due to the fact that T20 games are only 3 while the other formats are little more than 8 hours. People love the ODI format and that is easily shown in the full stands during the World Cup. What the ICC really need to do, is to regulate the IPL from being too long. Its really getting out of hand

Posted by voma on (June 3, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

6 months ago KP was telling everybody who would listen , that he was happy playing all 3 formats of cricket ! . So this weeks annoucement by him is a bit of a surprise . Especially with ODI series against Australia and South Africa to come , and the 20/20 world cup . Its his way of getting his own back against the Ecb , for the recent twitter fine . Pietersons test career should be ended now .

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 3, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

@dhchdh on (June 03 2012, 11:06 AM GMT), you have no actual evidence to back that up other than your own bias, so you're being as petty as you accuse the ICC of being. Besides that, what has this story got to do with that subject? Your bringing it up in an unrelated story says to me that you're even more petty than you accuse the ICC of being. If something goes against an Indian it's not automatically because they are Indian. You say that D/L is unfair. Back it up with facts. What evidence do you have that the alternative is more fair? What evidence do you have that losing a game under VJD would be less heart-breaking than under D/L?

Posted by cricendulkar on (June 3, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Cricket's most glorious moments have come in ODIs.The popularity of this game is bcz of the Odi format,cricket's biggest event is 50 over wc.It will take some 'heart' to ditch this format and i certainly don't have that.

Posted by sarvindsharma on (June 3, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

I agree with most of what you are saying, except, what will happen to the world cup? That is hands down the most prestigious prize in cricket.

Look, I think the problem with being a mercenary for IPL/Big Bash/etc. is this: we as viewers want to see ''world class XI' teams compete. In soccer, that is at the club level where one can accumulate global talent. In cricket however, there is such a huge discrepancy between the club level and the interantional level that one cannot abandon the idea that playing for the Country IS the higher form of cricket in every way.

I say keep the status quo. If KP chooses money over country that's fine. Good for him. He will not be remembered as an England great. So won't Gayle achieve what Greenridge and company did in their time. His choice.

Posted by Copernicus on (June 3, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

I for one wouldn't be sad to see the ODI relegated to the history books and streamline the international game - however I do think it's an important developmental tool for Associate teams that don't get any Test cricket. So if the 50-over game were to be done away with at the top level my hope would be that they retain it as a bridging format to help grow the game.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

I think it's highly unrealistic to advocate dropping 50 over cricket completely. There is already a few teams that don't play a whole lot of test cricket, like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. With no ODI cricket i just don't see them surviving hosting two or three tests a year with a few T20's thrown in. Are teams going to go to Bangladesh to play a three match T20 series? T20 as the sole form of limited overs cricket will surely become even more mundane than the traditional 50 over form, as it at least maintains some contest between bat and ball.... The solution needs to be a thinning out of both ODI and T20 cricket, I believe test cricket is at somewhere near the correct volume. Just like pruning a tree to allow and encourage new growth for it to prosper.

Posted by gpmh79 on (June 3, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

I don't buy this "too much cricket" argument from the players. There is far too much whining about being over-worked and away from home for extended periods. Guess what? That is the price paid for have a career at the top table which will be done for most by the age 35-40. The reason that Pietersen doesn't want to retire from Tests is that he acknowledges that is where he builds his brand, thus making him attractive in the IPL auction etc. I don't always agree with the ECB or other boards, but their interest is the national team, not lining the pockets of individual players. If an international player feels that there is "too much cricket" I suggest they do a 6 month overseas military posting and see how tough that is. Now - whether the boards make best use of the cash they coin from a busy calendar is a different debate altogether, but please don't let your hearts bleed for the likes of Pietersen who is already set for life financially.

Posted by wnwn on (June 3, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

The 50 over odi's are quite enjoyable when played between two equally matched teams. The problem is that there are too many of them being played. To schedule a 4, 5, 6 or 7 match odi series in the modern age is just ridiculous.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

I don't understand the reasoning behind not allowing a player to contract to 2 formats. It's time the cricket boards move with the times.

Posted by D-Ascendant on (June 3, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

Actually, an interesting point raised by Chapelli: Why doesn't a representative of a players body like FICA sit on the ICC board?

Posted by kickittome70 on (June 3, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

The Narine situation is quite telling. Here we have the best spin bowler since Murali hit the scene and he has been put in a difficult situation of either buying a house and helping his family (participating in IPL 5) or playing for his country in the english test series. We really need this kid to be playing on the big stage. The IPL window really needs to be created. I think at the same time, the ICC could organise a mini ODI world cup for the team A's (second 11's) of the top 8 ODI counties in the world. But part of the negotiation for the IPL would be that the BCCI would have to accept that it is shortened. IN excess of 7 weeks is too much and this could easily be reduced to 4 or 5 weeks as a compromise. KP has been a fantastic servant of the game and you'd think that the ECB could grant him entry to T20's but his withdrawl from ODI's tells me that the players may be over playing pointless ODI's keeeping them in airports and hotels in distant places away from their families.

Posted by dhchdh on (June 3, 2012, 11:06 GMT)

Agreed Ian; but so is the Duck-Lewis system. It's unfair & heartbreaking. An alternative VJD system has been developed but ICC has kept that on hold coz it says "there are no flaws in D/L". The real reason is that VJD has been conceptualised by an Indian Mathematician... how petty of ICC

Posted by whatawicket on (June 3, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

a few month ago swann said he thought that the 50 over format was the one to be taken out of the cricket calender. the forum was bombarded with comments that as england were well down the league in that format. and that was the reason he said that. something has to give and i think now that will be the 1 to go. as to KP dropping out of all 1 day cricket he made the decision. but unlike gayle, he will never drop out of tests until he well into his 30s or his form fails. he is on a fantastic contract from the ecb and his deals outside cricket.

Posted by sifter132 on (June 3, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Scrap T20 internationals or combine them with 50 over cricket into a shorter 40 over game (maybe with 2 innings). That will save those useless weeks where separate T20I squads are flown around the world for 1 or 2 games at different venues.

Posted by fsdb on (June 3, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

spot on as always Ian - nailed it again! ;-)

Posted by TimelessTests on (June 3, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

IPL is not compulsory; complying with a central contract is - just like doctors who do private practice cannot whine about being overworked in the NHS. If they want to put in the extra hours IN THEIR OWN TIME to boost their earning then fine. Ditto for sportsmen. We are a long way from the pre-Packer days when pay was indeed laughable. That doesn't mean that players should not seek to renegotiate their pay and/or conditions but not by unilaterally 'doing a KP'.

Posted by vrn59 on (June 3, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

Good article! Many people are criticising this article, but I feel that Chapell has taken a correct and measured view on the matter. Personally, I don't understand what is so wrong with playing for money. Everyone works for money, everyone needs to earn, so why not cricketers? Pietersen's demand was feasible: he wanted to play Test and T20 cricket for England, and retire from ODIs. This is not the IPL's fault; there isn't a single English ODI series that the IPL has clashed with. Yes, it is an addition to Pietersen's calendar, but it was his choice to sign the contract. The IPL is optional, so as an Indian, I must say that it is unreasonable to blame it. It is a very successful tournament; the crowds love it and the cricketers make big money, so what? I do have a problem with terrible local players like Saurabh Tiwary making millions, but other than that, the IPL is doing just fine, regardless of what English and Australian fans think!

Posted by avik_straightbat on (June 3, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

dont agree...with the fact that the 50 over variant ....but the scheduling should be such that ...the international cricketers ...can not only get time for their bodies to rest and recover after the long season ....but also play a few matches for their state team ....to increase the interest levels for the domestic cricket and make it more competitive....i think wat should be done ....is either do away with international t20's .....just have ipl....dont think the latter is possible coz of the moola involved ....

Posted by   on (June 3, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

I disagree with Chappelli on many things, but we almost always see eye to eye on administrative issues. Wholeheartedly concur. I wrote a similar article last year (or maybe a little bit longer ago) discussing the Gayle saga. Gayle was really the first to lay these discrepancies bare, but his war with the WICB overshadowed the broader implications of his actions.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (June 3, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

Players that prefer playing T20 cricket around the world rather than ODIs for their countries may go.I am no fan of Kevin Pietersen,this just mean I will get to see less of him.Next step for the ECB is to ignore him completely.

Posted by Viv-Viru on (June 3, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

I am big fan of you Ian, but very very disappointed with your calling Pietersen a mercenary. What world are you living in? Just about every other major sport pays its players well and there are much righer sports leagues all around the world. So is the whole world a bunch of mercenaries?

You seem to forget that professional golfers are proud to play for their country in Ryder Cup or President's Cup and ATP players are proud to play for their country in Davis Cup (and sometimes they chose not to play but no one ever accused a Sampras or a Federer or Nadal of being a mercenary).

Posted by getsetgopk on (June 3, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Its the greed thats hurting everything, greed for extra money, the boards wants a busy schedule to make extra money, players want to play useless cricket in IPL to make more money, hardly anyone is concerned for cricket.

Posted by dananiki on (June 3, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Extremely well written and totally correct. Something has to give. I think Rahul Dravid was right... Priority on test matches, 50 over cricket in major tournaments only and t20 leagues. More players will give the internationals away due to the riches of t20 and the amount of international cricket crammed into the calendar.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

haha.. well, personally I think this is going to be limited to a finite amount of players, even if nothing changes. While Pietersen is not on his own here I don't see a mad rush for the gates. The fact is, KP has always been a mercenary, he as always sougt a better deal for himself. He left RSA for England, he left Notts for Surrey, now he has left a hole in Englands side to feather his bed in the IPL...... There's just not that many international players, I don't think, that can truly afford to burn their bridges in the fashion of Gayle and KP... At any rate, it's only really an issue for the WICB and the ECB (the two boards losing talent, because of a clash in seasons) and they perhaps need to come to their own conclusions as to their next step.... It's not really too much cricket, it's the scheduling clashes that come up against the IPL that are causing problems and need to be resolved.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (June 3, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

Well said, Ian. Administrators think players are their pawns to use and abuse. Hopefully the situation with KP and Ellyse Perry (in soccer), will see a power shift back to those who put bums on stadium seats and lounge room couches - the players. And, yes, ODIs have to go. It's the easiest way to lighten the load on the schedule and there's just no valid reason to keep ODIs anymore. Cricket does not *need* ODIs. But it certainly needs the time dropping them would free up.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 3, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

I agree that, if something gives in cricket, it is likely to be the 50-over game. I think that the ECB's stance on players having to play both 50- and 20-over cricket or neither is specifically aimed at preventing that happening. Pietersen is the first that I'm aware of but, in time, I reckon that there could be a large number of players choosing to play 20- but not 50-over cricket. In that case ODIs become a joke and will be forced into retirement whether the ICC and national boards like it or not. KP has "called their bluff" if you like and said that he won't play T20Is either, but I reckon that, when given the choice of neither or both, many players who would prefer to play T20Is only would give in and play both. That's apparently what the ECB is relying on. If too many follow KP's lead then I see no alternative but to scrap ODIs to save T20Is.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (June 3, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

Completely agree ,Ian, a major opportunity to plan the game properly was missed and it will end up being forced. The entire Future Tests programme should be ripped up and everyone should sit down with a blank page. The future is Tests and t20 with hopefully Tests as no.1 and ODI's should start to be phased out. My view is that t20 should become just a franchised club game (no international teams) with periods set aside for it while Test series should spread evenly over the peak southern & northern hemisphere months and not mixed in with other formats. All series would be 3 , 4 or 5 Tests depending on the level of the opponents and these 2 Test series binned. At the moment the schedule is a mess of formats and there is too much of all of it. When the talk becomes of players missing Tests because they have commitments elsewhere and of those who are playing Tests having to be rested you know it's out of control.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 3, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

I don't necessarily agree that KP will become a "mercenary". He said that he wanted to give up ODIs to ease the demands on his time. He would lose all credibility if he then relinquished that time to play other T20 leagues. Yes, he has more time than he initially intended because he now can't play T20 for England but how many T20Is do England play in a year anyway? Without the WC, not that many. He is still prioritising Test cricket even over IPL too, so you couldn't really call him a mercenary while he does that. I do agree that the schedule needs a shake-up though. Take this stupid ODI series between England and Australia. I don't see how it benefits either team. That time could have been better used as a rest for England between WI and SA, an extra Test against SA or not starting the WI tour so early. England and Australia have plenty of cricket between them coming up so this ODI series seems to serve no purpose other than monetarily.

Posted by Alexk400 on (June 3, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

I think all international matches boards and members makes money , players gets peanuts. With ICL , IPL , players gets the true value of their play. I think i like anything transparent. IPL was trying to muzzle the growth of domestic players making money when borderline player got to play one match makes 100 times more than player who are in door steps of selection who get chump change. ECB doing same thing to choke the player attempt to move away from their international matches by stipulating the player should play t20 and ODI to be eligible for T20s. Next they will say you can't even play test matches if you don't play ODIs. I think what ecb doing is garbage. Just jealousy. Instead it should work with Austalia , South africa and India and part of Champions trophy. And not all country can play same time because of monsoon. So i think every country get 2 month window where it will be optional for players to make choice. I think preventing players from making due money is a crime.

Posted by landl47 on (June 3, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

The players' freedom, though, is an illusion. T20 is a very simplified form of the game- crude slogging, defensive bowling, no close fielders, no time for strategy. Like everything very simple, it won't be long before it gets boring to the (largely non-cricket loving) crowds that watch it. Then the money will dry up, and where does that leave the players? Yes, cricket needs to move with the times and there's room for a short form of the game to attract those who do not have the time or inclination to watch tests. At the end of the day, though, test cricket has survived for over 130 years because it is a rich, varied, interesting game. Unless it remains the pinnacle of the game, cricket will die; T20 simply isn't a good enough game to sustain it. The ECB doesn't need to control Pietersen, it needs to provide cricket for those who love the game. Whether Pietersen plays or not is a minor matter.

Posted by gsamiru on (June 3, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

"Pietersen's preferred option was to play two versions of the game for England - Tests and T20s. However, the ECB is adamant players must be prepared to commit to both short forms of the game or else play neither." ------- Stupid rule from ECB !!!!!!!!!

Posted by 1st_april on (June 3, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

7 ODI series are utterly useless....i can't fathom out why AUS tours IND for (only) 7 odis and tours ENG for (only) 5 odis.....test series should have a minimum 3 tests...and odi series should be limited to 5 odis....and the CB SERIES SHOULD BE BANNED...it is the most traumatic part of the cricket summer as an AUS fan :-)

Posted by Riderstorm on (June 3, 2012, 3:20 GMT)

Thank you for raising the point. Everybody seems to have conveniently forgotten the actual issue of international schedule being unsustainable and trying to pin the blame on the players for making selfish but responsible choices for the sake of their families.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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