Mills believes that an official window should be created for the IPL
The New Zealand cricket team have announced that many of their star players may miss the first Test against England, when the two sides meet each other next year, due to the New Zealand cricket board failing to convince the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reschedule the series at a time that does not clash with the Indian Premier League (IPL).
New Zealand cricketers get paid more playing one week in the IPL than they do in their annual cricket contract for their country.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) Players’ Association chief Heath Mills, believes that if the players participate in the five weeks they are allotted to the IPL, then they should be able to make it to England on the eve of the first Test match.
With eight New Zealand players in the IPL, four of them are starters, while Nathan McCullum and James Franklin are not too far off from being included in the starting eleven themselves.
However, Mills noted that he would be extremely surprised if “most of the players didn’t play the IPL”.
“Our understanding was that the guys can take five weeks leave, and that NZC will endeavour to make sure there was no international cricket during that period, however, they did note that it may not be as easy to ensure our players could play the whole IPL when we toured England,” Mills added.
Mills, also stated that since there had been no compromise between the NZC and ECB, the New Zealand players would have to live with the fact and deal with the schedule they had been given.
“They made a commitment to us that they will work with the ECB to try and get the dates of our English tour after the IPL if possible. Clearly those discussions haven’t reached an outcome that New Zealand players or the players here were hoping. England don’t want to move any cricket around the IPL. That’s their right, and their choice. So we need to live with that,” Mills said.
Many critics feel as if this series may have a harmful effect on international cricket, since the New Zealand team will not be at its best, and the England team will not be made to work for anything, but the critics also mentioned that the English public would be hit the hardest, due to the fact that they will not be able to see a competitive game of cricket between two excellent sides.
“As I do my maths at the moment, if the IPL starts on the 7th of April, as it typically does, then our guys will obviously have five weeks of the IPL, and they will then arrive on the eve of the first Test, which is scheduled for the 16th of may. Which means we will need to work this through with the NZC and the players concerned, if NZC feel that’s not enough preparation, they may look to take other players to play that first Test match and have the IPL guys play the second Test. It’s certainly unfortunate and far from ideal,” Mills said.
With many international cricketing stars scheduled to play in next year’s IPL, people feel as if the smaller teams, such as New Zealand and the West Indies, will be at their weakest since many of their starters will not be available for selection.
However, bigger teams like India, Australia and South Africa will not take as big of a hit since they have many players in their reserve squads, and also they can pay their players more in order to stop them from playing in tournaments like the IPL.
“Our senior players are earning over a million dollars playing in the IPL, effectively it comes to 200,000 dollars a week. So each week they are not at the IPL, they lose more than the initial contracts here in New Zealand, which I think other people don’t realise. New Zealand players earn a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year whereas players from England, Australia and the bigger countries earn a couple of million dollars a year with the initial contract,” Mills said.
Mills, also believes that cricket administrators have to do more than say that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport.
“I think from a holistic point of view this is not the answer for international cricket, clearly if you haven’t got your best players playing for your country, we can no longer say international cricket is the best playing the best. Because it isn’t. The day the international cricket is not about best players against best players, we have a problem, and we need to discuss it. We need to find a better outcome,” he said.
Mills, feels as if an official window for the IPL should be set, since it is the biggest Twenty20 tournament in the world by far.