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.”

 ?? TOO MUCH: Ben Stokes ??
TOO MUCH: Ben Stokes

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