Tuesday, March 18, 2008

IPL and ICL do not bode well for West Indies cricket

Even with the West Indies Cricket board (WICB) granting a 30-day window for West Indies players to compete in the Indian Pro League (IPL), WICB CEO Donald Peters said the IPL would present challenges to the West Indies team very similarly to how New Zealand will be also adversely affected.

Peters said it was important that West Indies selectors be cognisant of the importance of fortifying the team with the right mix of players to compensate for the likely absence of key players like captain Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan for the first two tests against Australia.

The IPL Twenty20 match schedule clashes with the West Indies home series against number one ranked Australia in May and June. Cricket Australia has already stated that playing for the country receives priority.

During a brief wait for their connecting flight to Guyana, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardane spoke to the media in the VIP lounge at the Grantley Adams airport on Friday about the team s expectations ahead of the Digicel cricket series against the West Indies. Jayawardane explained that from his point of view national duty will be given priority over playing in the IPL.

However, the reality for West Indies cricketers is choosing between US$30 000 per tour or a series lasting two months or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a tournament involving a few one-day matches spread over 30 to 44 days.

On the other hand those countries that have attached bans to players who have been lured by the Indian Cricket Leahue (ICL) are larger, successful countries where the players are compensated handsomely for national duty, garnering from US$1 million and US$100 000 for their appearances.

IPL organisers have stated that all players featured in the 44-day tournament would need No-Objection Certificates from their respective boards to compete in the league but the sentiment from Peters is that the players bent on competing in the tournament will do it anyway.

Although the window is 30 days, if any of the absent players is successful in reaching the later stages of the tourney they might end up needing 44 days in all.

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, Peters said, I am not going restrict the players because they would go anyway.

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