Image courtesy of: Times of India
Lumb is convinced more county players will become freelancers if they continue to be banned from the IPL
England and Nottinghamshire batsman Michael Lumb admitted that he highly considered going freelance in order to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and decide which other domestic Twenty20 tournaments he would have liked to participate in.
Lumb revealed that the thought of going freelance first dawned upon him when Nottinghamshire banned all their players from taking part in the IPL in order to ensure they were all available to play county games.
However, Lumb never went through with his plans of becoming a freelance as he wants to work his way back into the national team through Nottinghamshire.
But, the England opener believes it is only a matter of time before some county players decide to go freelance if they continue to be barred from playing in the IPL.
“I think you will see more and more of that with the money being thrown round these leagues, especially among players who don’t see themselves playing Test cricket, if the English clubs don’t allow their players to go because it clashes with county fixtures,” Lumb said.
“I think there is a mood among the players to change things so we do get the opportunity to play. If the rules can be done in such a way that we can take part, we’d like to play. But at the minute that’s not going to happen.”
Lumb has played in two seasons of the IPL and had an outstanding year with the Rajasthan Royals in 2010, but he was banned from entering his name in the 2013 auction, along with Alex Hales and Samit Patel, by Nottinghamshire since the County Championship was scheduled to begin seven days after the IPL did.
Responding to Lumb’s comments, Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell stated that the Nottinghamshire players are given the freedom to play wherever they want between October 1 and April 10.
“Our players can play wherever they want to between October 1 and April 10,” he said. “I’ve got no issues with that. We encourage our players to play abroad — Riki (Wessels) went to Bangladesh, Hales and Lumb to the Big Bash and Samit’s now got a gig in South Africa. But there has to be a point at which you say ‘no, we need all of our best players together now’.”
Lumb also pointed out that it was a huge disappointment that no English counties are ever involved in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20).
“Having no teams in the Champions League is a huge blow for English counties,” Lumb said. “I was part of it last year and I know it is a fantastic competition.
“Playing the final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg was great for me because it allowed me to play in my home town and in front of my mum and dad, who had not seen me play for a while. But for any player to play before a full house in a stadium like that is a fantastic buzz.
“As for the IPL, it is disappointing that we can’t be involved this year. I can see it may cause a bit of trouble in the future and it something the management and coaches need to sort out.
“I don’t know how it will work or if there is a solution. I have thought about going freelance but for me it is not the right thing at the moment. I’m enjoying my cricket right now and enjoying being at Notts, with this group, and I want this group to have success, so for me it is not really an option. But I can see other players looking at it.”
Given the fact that Lumb thought long and hard about going freelance, Newell admitted he was worried about Lumb, Hales and Patel not always sharing his views and also about the trio becoming freelancers.
“It does concern me,” he said. “It is going to come up again regularly and it is an issue the counties have to address.
“Next year, because there is a World t20, the IPL is going to start later and push more into our season, which means it is going to cross over the start of our new t20 competition. Somebody is going to have to have a look at that aspect too.
“I think Hales is a bit young yet to be selling himself around the world but players who are 34 or 35 such as Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate will just do that. And down the line Michael Lumb might want to do it as well.”