Eastern Eye (UK)
Country vs club issue
CRICKET chiefs have been urged by the MCC World Cricket Committee to intervene urgently to ensure the international game can thrive alongside booming franchise competitions.
The committee, which includes former and current players, acknowledged the increased playing opportunities and financial health of the game but said it was vital to make it sustainable in the long term.
A statement issued by the body said the men’s cricket schedule in 2023 was “saturated” with franchise competitions, which competed and overlapped with international series.
“Of the domestic tournaments, only the Indian Premier League (Twenty20 competition) commands anything like a window to avoid international clashes,” the WCC said. The glut of cricket across the globe is a growing issue for top players.
England Test captain Ben Stokes cited an “unsustainable” schedule when he announced last year that he was retiring from the 50-over format. New Zealand bowler Trent Boult asked to be released from his contract with the Black Caps to spend more time with his family and make more room in his schedule for franchise cricket. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) still has global responsibility for cricket’s laws but the role of the WCC is to discuss the main issues in the game.
“Continued overlap and congestion will see an increasing number of players forced to choose between club and country, which will threaten the ‘best v best’ status that is so critical to the success and appeal of international cricket,” it said in its statement issued last Thursday (9).
The WCC said the issue of overlap in the women’s game between international cricket and domestic leagues was not currently a problem.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, a WCC member, said Test cricket remained the “biggest platform”.
“That should always continue to be the pinnacle and I am sure that countries will give importance to it and find the right balance between franchise cricket and Test cricket,” he said. Fellow member Justin Langer, a former Australia opener and coach, said: “The difference between international cricket and domestic T20 cricket is that the whole nation cares when their country is involved.”