Sri Lanka news April 30, 2011

Players can't ignore IPL lure - Law

ESPNcricinfo staff

Stuart Law, Sri Lanka's interim coach, has expressed sympathy with Lasith Malinga's decision to quit Test cricket due to a knee condition, but has also acknowledged that the lure of the IPL - with its bumper signings and opportunities to secure oneself financially in quick time - makes it difficult for players to continue playing international cricket. He added it was important to keep India "sweet", as that's where a significant part of the revenue for several cricket boards lies.

Malinga made himself unavailable for Sri Lanka's upcoming tour of England and announced his decision to quit Tests because of a "long-standing degenerative condition in the right knee". While the condition made it difficult for him to play in the longest format, he intends to continue playing limited-overs cricket, and is currently the leading wicket-taker in the IPL, where he represents Mumbai Indians.

"'It's disappointing that he doesn't want to play [the] longer [format cricket] but you can't make [force] a guy who goes through hell every time he bowls a cricket ball," Law told The Age. "I can sympathise with him. I would love him to play every game for us but that's impossible, no one does that these days.

''It's a tough one for the players because we're not talking about $10,000 here and there. We're talking about a million dollars and Malinga, when he bowls, he puts his body through hell, so … two more years of IPL cricket and he can put his feet up and not go through that pain again."

Apart from Malinga, there are three other prominent Sri Lanka players participating in the IPL - Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. The tour of England clashes with the latter stages of the IPL, and there's been confusion in Dilshan's case about when he'll join the Sri Lanka squad. He had said he wanted to join as early as May 10, ahead of the first warm-up game, but the BCCI and the Sri Lanka board are negotiating his release date. Sangakkara and Jayawardene, meanwhile, will join their squad ahead of the second warm-up fixture.

''The IPL situation - we've got to be smart with that,'' Law said. ''India, they are big brother, we've got to look after them, we don't want to upset them. It's where a lot of the world cricket boards make a lot of their money, so we've got to keep India sweet.''

The financial incentive of the IPL was a major temptation for players, Law said. ''You want the best for your players and the best Sri Lanka can supply to the players at this stage is nowhere near what other international players are getting.

''I think [better pay] will arrive one day but right now it is difficult to attract the players to continue to play international cricket when they can go to the IPL for six weeks and earn five years' money.''

Sri Lanka have undergone a change in leadership since finishing runners-up in the 2011 World Cup, with Sangakkara and Jayawardene stepping down as captain and vice-captain respectively - decisions Law could "totally respect and understand" - and their selection committee resigning. Dilshan has been named the new captain and Law has taken over from Trevor Bayliss, who he worked with as assistant coach.

''Sri Lanka will go through a rebuilding phase now," Law said. "But the amount of talent that is yet to play international cricket at this stage is amazing."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanjeev on May 2, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    well I am totally against IPL cause as we can see dilshan is, in out situation.our senior players want to take rest from WI tour insane...WI tour is more important than IPL. I request the organisers to organise IPL in such a manner that main players from all countries can take part in next international assignment rather than taking rest..

  • Vijay on May 2, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    @randika ayya: You make some good points. However, my main point was that I would like to see the DOMESTIC cricket expand and we see more domestic teams playing each other.That is the ONLY way that cricket will ever truly become global. If the SAME teams keep getting all the coverage the lesser teams and the associate members would stand no chance.Football has become global because domestic teams with foriegners play other domestic teams, e.g UEFA champions league.

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Why the SL board has pressed panic buttons when its team has reached world cup finals and have a good all round team for the Test level as well, seems to bemuse every one. IPL offering succor to players is baseless and the lure will be the fallout for various National boards if they do not act fast. If the boards could ban ICL players why not enforce laws rather than falling goat to IPL. IPL is basically tamasha cricket for the public who do not know cricket and should not be given so much precedence at world level.

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    IPL seems to be a very good tournament only for the Indian cricketers. And they are producing good talent. But Other countries are losing because of IPL. Most of the foreign star players are not participating in their domestic games. Instead they participate in some Indian domestic games and help Indians develop their players. It's not good for the development of other countries. That's what happening to SL right now. No star players are featuring in domestic games. And thus reducing the opportunities for young talent to rise. BUT IT'S EVEN WORSE WHEN PLAYERS CHOOSE IPL OVER REPRESENTING THEIR COUNTRIES which happening right now and is very disappointing.

  • N on May 1, 2011, 17:28 GMT

    I think some people have got the definition of IPL window all wrong. It's not a window that the IPL desperately needs. It is a 2-month window that the international stars want, so that they won't be pulled in and out of the IPL. It just means that the players are saying "give us 2 months for ourselves and we will give you 10". I realize people who hate the IPL will find a way to blame the IPL for everything. But the fact is, the fans and the boards will have to respect the wish and freedom-of-choice of the players.

  • Randika on May 1, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    @WestIndies1987: You've gotto be either kidding or extremely naive my friend. Cos you are obviously Indian and Obviously take the view of IPL in India as a global one. Here's an eye opener for you: Though I wouldn't comment against IPL on principal since Domestic success is vital to the games global popularity, the fact remains that IPL IS and WILL always be a domestic tournament. being a cricket crazy country Sri Lanka have not shown much interest in the IPL apart from the games that our stars feature in. Vast majority will not feel allegiances to any team and they won't even know who plays for which team. Its another big bash or a pro-40 for us. So do not expect IPL to take over the world since, while it feeds the Indian ego, it hasn't been anything extraodinary in terms of cricket. But IPL certainly has taken the professionalism in players to the next level with its massive pay-checks so that quite good for the game. This should mean better salaries for pro-cricketers world-wide!

  • Michael on May 1, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    @Ellis: "The ICC must set up a window for the IPL, or see a gradual erosion of quality players from the International scene. " I think what you'd find is exactly the same thing regardless of whether a 'window' is created or not - and that is that players will play IPL when it is on and International matches at other times. So apart from a few matches that coincide with the IPL (whose dates change from year to year), 'quality players' will still be available to their (Inter)national sides. I think the bigger concern from cricket's point of view is the trend towards retiring from longer forms to play in shorter forms, and the effect the shorter forms are having on the skills of the so-called 'quality players'. How many big-turning spinners are there in Twenty20s these days? How many out-and-out fast bowlers are able to maintain their pace through a whole day? These things were common 50 years ago. Now there is too much cricket and not enough basic skills and fitness.

  • Vijay on May 1, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    I love the IPL and I personally want DOMESTIC cricket to become more prominent. International cricket is becoming BORING with the SAME teams playing over and over again.We need more of Mumbai vs Surrey and Trinidad&Tobago vs New South Wales.

  • Tom on May 1, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Cricket is completely different from Football, Basketball or any other sports. Here we have only ten competing members and the shortest cricket tour is of at least a month long with T20, one days and test cricket included in it besides the side matches. Talent wise these 8 members are nearly equal if we take the last 30 years of cricket. If given equal opportunities these teams will always provide tough competition to each other. Nowadays its India who is dominating soon it will be the turn of Australia or some other nation. This is the beauty of international cricket to which we are all proud of. Despite a one sided one day series in West Indies all of the cricket fans are following it closely. I don't think anyone outside India has any interest in IPL games. An international T20 league will provide much better competition and interest than a Mumbai vs Kochi circus.

  • Ryan on May 1, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Its sad these days how you have to suck up to India to stay in the picture. Basically if you don't abide to India your players won't receive contracts in the IPL.

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