Crisis time for cricket?
It doesn't seem like a great time to be a cricket administrator, especially if you aren't an Indian cricket administrator. I'd say this is a pretty testing time for cricket and I really hope the powers-that-be recognize it and fix the real problems.
New Zealand cricket could really do with some help. Shane Bond's
NZ Cricket contract was terminated
since he wanted to play in the Indian Cricket League
. Scott Styris retired from test cricket
to focus on playing limited overs cricket. He'd only played 8 tests in the last 3 years
, compared to 49 ODIs and 13 Twenty20 games in that same period. I just don't understand exactly how playing 3 tests a year stressed him out. Most other players play between 8 and 12 tests a year on an average! Stephen Fleming may retire from test cricket
less than a year after retiring from ODIs
after the 2007 World Cup
. A whole bunch of Pakistani cricketers, including Mohammad Sami and Naved-ul-Hasan Rana, have joined the ICL
.Update on 14 Feb
: Stephen Fleming has confirmed that he will retire
after New Zealand's upcoming test series against England
The Indian Cricket League isn't the only reason why players are retiring. The Indian Premier League
) is also likely to result in several cricketers in the twilight of their careers retiring to earn a lot
of money for a few weeks of effort. Adam Gilchrist
is possibly only the first of a long list. Australia's star players are at loggerheads with their cricket board over potential sponsor clashes
in the Indian Premier League. Simon Taufel is indicating that he may not renew his umpiring contract with the ICC
. Given the umpiring cock-ups we've seen recently
and the number of umpires available/eligible, this is a huge
problem for the ICC. I'm fairly sure quite a few English county sides are worried as well, since the star overseas players they have signed up, at huge costs, would miss a few weeks of their county commitments to play in the IPL. There was a suggestion by an administrator (possibly from the IPL committee) that the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP)
could be changed to accomodate IPL tournaments.
But is it fair to assume that the BCCI is the only one which will be sitting pretty? I'm not so sure about it. As various commentators have observed, given the amount of money the franchise owners have pumped in, they will eventually demand that their players be more frequently available to them. Even if they agree to priority being given for international cricket commitments, the owners could insist that the players join the teams late and play IPL games instead of playing in warm-up games. Alternately, they could insist that players play for their IPL sides when they're rested or in-between tours. Will the IPL cannibalize the BCCI's domestic cricket tournaments? Eventually, could the IPL cannibalize international cricket per se to the extent that players will opt for the IPL over an international tour?
So what are the problems here?
- Availability of players: The IPL may insist, eventually when it is successful, that players need to spend more time playing their league rather than international cricket. Can cricket boards make it very clear to the IPL and the franchisees that their contracted players will be available only if they are fit and there are no international or domestic commitments? They may allow players who are dropped to participate in the IPL. Hence this implies that the board's international commitments and domestic cricket tournaments take precedence over the IPL tournaments.
- Players retiring to play in the IPL: Once a player retires from international cricket, they are no longer contracted to the cricket board. Hence the board cannot bar a player from playing in the IPL. At most, if the player is still playing domestic cricket, then his state association can do something about it.
- Umpires causing the same problems as players: Like Taufel is possibly hinting, he could join the IPL at the expense of his international umpiring career. Also, umpires could opt to umpire IPL games rather than tests or ODIs.
- Player/Umpire contracts being terminated since they want to be part of the ICL: This potentially results in a dwindling player/umpire pool for the cricket board since the current ICC policy is that the ICL is an unauthorized tournament.
Labels: australia, bcci, bond, book cricket, fleming, icc, india, indian cricket league, indian premier league, ipl 2008, new zealand, retire, stephen fleming, styris, taufel, twenty20, umpires