England stars told to put international duty ahead of IPL matches
LONDON: England stars such as Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Butler have been told their international commitments will have to take precedence in the event of a fresh fixture clash with a delayed finish to this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
The 2021 edition of the lucrative franchise Twenty20tournamentwassuspendedlastweekdue to the devastating coronavirus outbreak in India.
There is speculation the IPL may resume midway through September, which could lead to a clash with England white-ball tours of Pakistan and Bangladesh that are meant to take place between the end of the home season and a T20 World Cup in India scheduled for October.
While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking for a window in September -- between the home series and the T20 World Cup - or ater the T20 World Cup ends in November, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) wishes to follow the tight schedule as laid out in the Future
Tours Programme (FTP).
Halting the IPL has let England with a potentially larger player pool than they envisaged for next month’s two-test series at home to New Zealand.
Previously, the England and Wales cricket Board had been prepared to let players miss those matches in order to honour their previously agreed IPL deals.
A position that angered some England fans was justified by the ECB on the grounds that the New Zealand series had been a late addition to an already crowded fixture list.
But Ashley Giles, the England managing director, has made it clear he expects national service to be the priority from now on in a year culminating with Joe Root’s men heading to Australia in a bid to regain the Ashes.
“We’re planning on the involvement of England players in England matches. We’ve got a full FTP schedule. So if those tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh [in September and October] are going ahead, I’d expect the players to be there,” Giles told British media.
England play New Zealand in two Tests on June 2-14 in a series that was hastily arranged and Giles said the IPL players were allowed to skip the Test series as an exception since their IPL contracts were already formalised.
“The New Zealand scenario was very different. Those Test matches were formalised at the end of January, by which time all those contracts and NOCS [no objection certificates] were signed for full involvement in the IPL,” he said further.