The ICC will not consider creating an official window for the IPL in its Future Tours Programme, according to the outgoing ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat. The issue of clashing schedules has been apparent since the IPL began in 2008 and refuses to disappear, with this year's tournament forcing West Indies players to choose between the IPL and their home Test series against Australia.
Next year will be no different as New Zealand's cricketers, who can earn significantly more as an IPL player than they do via their national contracts, are due to visit England for a Test tour during the second half of the IPL. England's cricketers regularly have national duties that prevent them from playing a full IPL tournament.
But despite the risk of players choosing the IPL over representing their countries, the ICC remains opposed to the idea of incorporating the two-month tournament into the Future Tours Programme. Lorgat, whose tenure in charge of the ICC finishes at the end of June, said creating a window for the IPL would set a dangerous precedent.
"The consequence of that [an IPL window] is what do we do with the Big Bash League?" Lorgat said. "What do we do with other premier leagues - Sri Lanka is launching one, Bangladesh has one. I know people might say the IPL is the premier league, but once you provide a window for one particular member, you have to be conscious of the fact you may well have to do it for other members. Hence why we have not been supportive of a window specifically for any one of those domestic leagues."
Although an official IPL window is not on the agenda of cricket's administrators, each country's board would bear the tournament in mind when scheduling bilateral tours. That is certainly the case for New Zealand, whose board and players' association have an agreement to avoid scheduling international series that would clash with the IPL.
But such a conflict was inescapable next year, with New Zealand due to visit England for a Test tour in a year that also features an Ashes series in England. As a result, the New Zealand players could miss the warm-up matches ahead of the Test series. James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said national boards were doing what they could to allow their players to take part in the IPL but occasional clashes were unavoidable.
"I think there's a notional window already for the IPL," Sutherland said. "I think it exists. There's an inevitability around some overlap and countries are working around that to the best of their ability. There are challenges ultimately, it's been raised with clashes from time to time. But I think there's a notional window that most countries are working with and around, in order to allow their players the opportunity to play in IPL.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for cricketers to play in that competition. It's a huge competition and obviously it's very lucrative. It's hard to really stand in the way of that, particularly for countries that are less fortunate than ourselves, perhaps not generating the same amount of money as we are and perhaps not being able to pay their players as much as we are able to here in Australia."
Lorgat was in Melbourne to present Sutherland with the ICC's ODI shield, after Australia finished on top of the one-day international rankings at the end of the 2011-12 season. The Australians are about to embark on a six-match one-day tour of England and Ireland, and by the end of the trip they will have played 52 full international games across all formats in the space of 12 months.
Managing the volume of cricket on international calendars will be one of the challenges for Lorgat's successor at the ICC, Dave Richardson, who steps into his new position next month. Lorgat said there was no easy solution to overcrowded schedules, given the demand for all three formats.
"There's only 365 days in the year," Lorgat said. "If we could work out how to get more [days in the year] we would have the answer. Volume of cricket is something we all focus on. The only way in my view is for everybody involved to monitor and to ensure that they manage volume. Everybody to me is from the players themselves all the way through to the administrators, with the coaches in between.
"We've just seen last week in the Test match where England ... were resting James Anderson. Rotation is something which certain players are not keen on, understandably so, but I think it's a reality. Unless all of us manage the volume we're not going to get on top of that."