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Repercussions of the IPL in England

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Repercussions of the IPL in England

Following the conclusion of the Indian Premier League auction at the weekend, what impact, in terms of disruption to the counties, will it have on the start of the domestic campaign in England?

The IPL gets underway on the same day as the County Championship season kicks off (April 8), and while some counties will be hampered by the absence of some of their finest talents for a substantial length of time, the impact could indeed have been more severe. There were several English and English based players that were not selected for any of the franchises.

The prolonged contractual discussions between Essex and Ravi Bopara seemed to focus around the details of IPL payments, a potential compensation percentage for him being allowed to play in the tournament, which all proved unnecessary as Bopara was not picked up by any of the franchises. New team-mate Owais Shah will be absent from the Essex line-up for the duration his franchise, Kochi, are in the competition, as will all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate who will join up with Kolkata Knight Riders. Of course Essex will have been aware of Shah’s intention prior to him signing for the Chelmsford club.

In Essex’s situation, they may opt to sign an overseas batsman for the early part of the Championship season to ensure they make a strong start in attempting to regain Division One status. Money gained by way of compensation for two players joining the IPL, will help fund a possible move for South Africa’s Hashim Amla, who had a brief, yet very successful, stay with the club in 2009 when he averaged in excess of 100 after three first-class matches.

Along with Shah and ten Doeschate, there are a further seven players that would have started the domestic season in England, had the IPL riches not come calling. Michael Lumb returns to the IPL, joining Kevin Pietersen at Deccan Chargers, his club skipper at Hampshire Dmitri Mascarenhas aims to impress at Kings XI Punjab and Somerset pace bowler Alfonso Thomas will play for new franchise Pune Warriors. From a cricketing aspect Somerset are disappointed Thomas will be heading over to India, but they also understand the opportunity and support him in his decision.

The recently retired England Test batsman Paul Collingwood will not start the season with Durham as Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals view him as a vital member of their side. In a way you cannot begrudge Collingwood the opportunity to earn himself some serious money (although his $250,000 fee may be one of the bargains) such has been his commitment to the Test side, and he should be available for the duration of the tournament. Franchises may well have been put off signing the likes of Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson, etc, as they would be required to return home early and prepare for the Test series against the touring Sri Lankans. Pietersen and Stuart Broad are the only England Test regulars featuring in India.

Leicestershire made the decision to bring Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald back to Grace Road as their overseas player for 2011, but an IPL contract with Delhi Daredevils delays his arrival. The same applies to Somerset’s overseas position, retained by Murali Kartik for 2011, and also the fortunate owner of a wealthy IPL contract, alongside Somerset team-mate Thomas at Pune Warriors.

I am sure there are several other players that may have fulfilled an overseas vacancy with a County from April had they not secured an account swelling contract for a few weeks work in India. Names such as David Hussey may have been (and may still be later in the season) re-united with Nottinghamshire, James Franklin may have returned to Gloucestershire and if finances allowed, Worcestershire may have applied for the services of Shakib al Hasan from the start of the season but for their inclusions in the IPL. Of course it is understandable for the overseas players to opt for a similar or substantially improved wage for around seven weeks work in comparison to the hard yards of a full County season.

The one situation which I find slightly bewildering is the decision taken by Eoin Morgan to sign an IPL contract, and the same applies to Bopara should a franchise have offered him a deal. With Collingwood retiring from the Test side, it clearly opens up a position in the England middle order that will more than likely be filled by a batsman, such is England’s preference to play six specialist batsmen. What better way to project your talent, form, and potential as Collingwood’s replacement than scoring heavily with your County in the Championship prior to the Sri Lankans arriving late in May ?

Morgan instead will be trying to slap it about in 20-over cricket! Now unless he has received approval from the England management, surely he would have been better served, not concentrating on his bank balance but preparing as best he can for Test cricket. If he is selected for England, he will be going into the Test series without any first-class cricket under his belt in 2011, or with very limited game time.

The lack of an offer may ironically work in Bopara’s favour should he find some early season form with Essex. He also offers the kind of part-time medium pace that Collingwood used to offer England. Having bamboozled Mike Hussey with his last ball in Test cricket, Collingwood may rightly argue his part-time label, and as the Ashes hysteria is still abound, we shall uphold his protestations.

Somerset’s James Hildreth will also hope to catch the eye of the selectors after impressing with the England Performance squad over the winter in Australia. He had comfortably his best County Championship season last year proving to his critics that he can score plenty of runs away from the batsman-friendly Taunton aswell as punishing attacks at home. Hildreth scored 1,440 first-class runs, including seven centuries, at a mightily impressive average of 65.45.

Bopara and Hildreth will also both get the opportunity to press their claims when the England Lions compete in the West Indies domestic first-class competition during February and March. Leicestershire’s James Taylor who is also part of that squad should not be overlooked as possible replacement for Collingwood, but the opportunity may have come too soon for him.

So once again there has been disruption to best laid plans for a handful of the English counties, but we should be aware it could have been much worse. With so many Championship games being shoehorned into the months of April and May, there has to be changes made either to the scheduling of the domestic fixtures or the creation of an IPL window that does not affect other cricket around the world. Of course with the volume of cricket being played this is becoming increasingly problematic to successfully arrange, and that particular challenge continues.

Comments

Cheers guys, appreciate that.

Yes you’re probably right with Morgan, maybe the management have communicated with him and told him he’s going to be next in line. Just think he could do more to secure the place by preparing in the County Championship, and to ensure he has some first-class cricket under his belt to give him some confidence in the longer form. If he gets a chance against Sri Lanka, he’ll be sorry if he’s mentally still in T20 mode.

I don’t have massive issues that England are picking someone without a great first-class record, in Andy Flower I do trust that he can spot a player with the right attributes to be a success at the top level, despite a first-class record not endorsing his potential significantly. They’re not all going to settle into Test cricket seamlessly, but his and the selectors judgement have been pretty good recently. Not playing much first-class cricket is of more concern to me though.

Comment by Paul Wood | 12:00am BST 17 January 2011

It’s good to read something about the IPL that sidesteps all the hype but at the same time doesn’t dismiss it out of hand – most enjoyable

Comment by fredfertang | 12:00am BST 17 January 2011

Excellent read Woods, very well said.

Morgan is an interesting case when you say he ought to be claiming the available Test spot. I think the spot is already his – Colly explicitly named him, he was next man in against Pakstan and on tour – so he’s not really got anything to lose.

It may be one reason why Morgs is keen to not play any early season county cricket. He plays in the second division, so if he doesn’t do well he could get shown up and lose his place to Hildreth/Taylor (depending on who’s scoring the runs). If he does really well, he’d only earn a spot that was his anyway.

Of course, the fact that the England selectors will almost certainly pick someone who has hardly played any FC cricket for two years and had a mediocre record in it anyway is a debate unto itself.

Comment by Howe_zat | 12:00am BST 17 January 2011

I’d still prefer the next in line to be playing FC cricket prior to the Sri Lanka series. Morgan doesn’t necessarily have to gun it to retain his spot, but I’d far rather he was preparing for the Test series by playing FC cricket than T20. If Taylor, Hildreth, Bopara, or indeed anyone else who the selectors might have an eye on for the vacant batting spot come out and start the domestic season on fire, then sticking with Morgan becomes very hard to justify.

Comment by GingerFurball | 12:00am BST 18 January 2011

I agree mate, I think they have to be have played some first-class cricket in the lead up to a Test series, and would be surprised, with the meticulous nature of Andy Flower, if Morgan is allowed to go from the IPL straight into Test cricket.

For Morgan playing in the CC would be about getting mentally in tune with the longer game, and refining his ability to bat long periods of time, enhance his skills of concentration, things the IPL would not offer at all. It’s not necessarily about staking a 1,000 runs by the end of May, if they have decided he’s the man and providing he avoids a complete horror run, then it would simply be about him preparing himself as well as he possibly can in four-day cricket.

Comment by Paul Wood | 12:00am BST 18 January 2011

Would all of these issues be avoided if IPL franchises signed on England’s T20 regulars, like Simon Cook and Graham Napier? Neither are in contention for Test spots, and they’re good at T20, possibly better than in FC cricket, so England would lose little and IPL teams would gain a lot, wouldn’t they?

Comment by Arjun | 12:00am BST 20 January 2011

I think its funny really aussie and england players play in ipl,but the bcci won’t let players play in england,australia,new zealand or s africa.
This is a real shame.

Comment by brockley | 12:00am BST 20 January 2011

Napier would’ve been a really good buy for a side IMO. Not sure what his base price was but I can’t imagine it was too high.

Comment by Marcuss | 12:00am BST 20 January 2011

The IPL clearly buys based on star power as well as likely success. Good as he is, the franchise aren’t going to sell that many t-shirts with Napier on them.

Of course this doesn’t explain every pick.

Comment by Howe_zat | 12:00am BST 20 January 2011

If they are available that is.
Last year when india had no games during the winter it barred its players,plus fringe players from playing.
If bar internationals the players are free,if the players want to play they should be allowed.

Comment by brockley | 12:00am BST 20 January 2011

IPL and other T20 competitions are great sources of income for a player, this is something every cricket board needs to respect and understand.
Its all good saying that test cricket is the ultimate and test cricketers are the most elite breed, but it all doesn’t add up when a glorified slogger for 8 weeks work makes 10 times more than what a good test cricketer makes working his backside off throughout the year.
So cricket boards either need to make sure they makeup for the financial losses a player is likely to have by not playing in these T20 events, if they can’t do that then they shouldn’t stop the player from going ahead and playing in these competitions.

Comment by pup11 | 12:00am BST 21 January 2011

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