IPL may take a toll on Windies, Kiwi boards


Sydney : West Indies and New Zealand cricket boards have expressed strong fears that the Indian Premier League might derail their upcoming international schedules.

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Both boards fear that their top players might prefer to appear in the cash-rich Twenty20 extravaganza from April 18 and skip the national team’s tours.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said they cannot stop Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan from playing IPL even if it has to be at the cost of their series against Australia in May and June.

The inaugural IPL runs from April 18 to June 1, so the trio would be able to play in the final Test in Barbados from June 12-16.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) will take a decision next week on whether to allow its five players to play in IPL, which coincides with their tour of England, which starts April 27.

Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram and Ross Taylor will play in IPL. Vettori feels missing a few practice matches will not matter as New Zealand play warm-ups on tours.

WICB chief Donald Peters said: “West Indies and New Zealand are two of the smallest cricket nations, and it will hurt us the most if our best players leave to play in the IPL because it’s hard to replace three of your best players. But we have to find a solution.”

The stars were entitled to earn their hefty paycheques from the 44-day IPL because of the relatively paltry sums on offer to play for the West Indies, and Peters conceded that if he tried to block the trio, they would go anyway.

“We are aware that we may lose the players for the first two Tests against Australia, and I asked the selectors to be cognisant of this and to try to put batsmen in the side that could replace Gayle, Chanderpaul, and Sarwan,” Peters was quoted as saying The Sydney Morning Herald.

IPL organisers said this situation would never arise because all players would need No-Objection Certificates from their boards before they could compete in IPL, but WICB feels that condition is of no help.

“I have the NOCs for the players, and I have to release the players, but I am not going to not release the players because they would go anyway,” said Peters, who is pushing for an annual IPL window in the international calendar.

“Given the amount of money involved, it certainly destabilises the infrastructure of cricket. It’s not fair to the players, and it’s not fair to the national teams.”

New Zealand’s tour of England starts with a warm-up match against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) April 27 and the first Test begins May 15.

“We really canvassed not only individuals but the team’s collective view in terms of what they think is the right thing to do in this situation,” said Justin Vaughan, the NZC chief executive.

As New Zealand’s squad for the England tour is slated to be announced April 10, skipper Vettori said: “I have said a couple of times, we go away on most tours and don’t have any warm-up games.”

“I don’t think we can say that we all need to turn up on the same day because that’s the way it’s supposed to be, because we don’t do it on any other tour,” Vettori said.

While Cricket Australia (CA) has told its players that international matches should take precedence over the IPL, the West Indies board appears powerless to make similar demands.

CA spokesman Peter Young said: “Our view is unambiguous: international cricket takes precedence, and we believe it should be about the best playing the best.”