Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 22, 2009

To Play or Not to Play?

pietersenWilliam Shakespeare might well have considered the last few weeks of English cricket history as suitable subject matter for a tragedy. Indeed, Hamlet’s words here

To be or not to be, that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them

may well have summed up KP’s thoughts before he moved against Peter Moores and, in opposing him, ended his coaching troubles, but lost him the captaincy.

But it wouldn’t be KP if traversing one sea of troubles, he didn’t encounter another ocean roiling and twisting beneath him. This time it’s what to do about the IPL?

As surely everyone knows, KP has stayed true to his tattoos and committed to serve the cause of England in the West Indies under Andrew Strauss and is (as we all are) looking forward to The Ashes. As sharper eyed readers will have noticed, he has said nothing about England’s early summer two Test “series” also against the West Indies (after Sri Lanka backed down as a result of player unavailability due to, you guessed it, the IPL) the sole purpose of which is to make good the ECB’s contractual commitment to Sky Television. The choice of opting for England or the IPL looms – no player can play the full IPL season and the two Test series.

So what does the Trumpet think? Whilst I admire the forebearance of Mitchell Johnson, Michael Clarke and the Aussie skipper for the 2017 Ashes series, Phillip Hughes in ignoring the entreaties of Lalit Modi and his franchisees, it is unrealistic to hold all players to that level of selflessness. The last few months in the financial world has shown that money can come and go very quickly, so it can be advisable to make it whilst one can and provide for one’s family with hard coinage, instead of vague expectations of future returns. The Stanford Twenty20 for $20M series of matches may or may not continue in 2009 – with the smart money favouring not.

If I were KP (or Flintoff) I would ask the ECB for one assurance. “If I go to the IPL and miss a Test or two, will my future selection be based solely on whether I am the best man for the job?” I believe that the ECB should agree to that – to do otherwise would be to victimise two men who are brokering their skills into earning power, which is what professionals do, what the Trumpet does and I suspect what you do too. Once the players know where they stand, they can make their own decisions and take the consequences.

What would happen? KP and Flintoff would go to the IPL and be selected for The Ashes. Some fringe players (perhaps Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel) would go to the IPL and not be selected for The Ashes. Perhaps only Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar might face a real dilemma – and they need all the Test match bowling they can get, so they should turn down the IPL riches… for now.

Should KP announce for the IPL, you will hear the howls for his banishment resound from his vast army of haters – but not from The Trumpet.

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Responses

  1. Is there a possibility that WI, like SL, back down? In which case England has their decision made for them.

  2. Strauss had an interesting idea today, that the ECB should trust the players to come back from the IPL ready to play test cricket. They’d arrive three days before the first test. Sounds like a good enough compromise…

  3. theoldbatsman – That is the answer!

    I’ll have to delete my post!

  4. Ah – this from http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/england/content/story/386726.html

    The IPL is due to span six weeks, beginning provisionally on April 10 with the final on May 29, and if the ECB allows its players to play in India then they will miss the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s on May 6.

    Maybe Straussy needs a diary secretary if not a coach.

  5. Having absolutely zero emotional attachment to this dilemma I’ve had to think long and hard about it. So much easier, yet rarely wise in cricketing matters, to express with the heart instead of the head.

    It is indeed a curious situation, mainly because of the players involved.

    On the one hand you have Pietersen, a man who is respected in England but not loved and on the other, Flintoff, universally loved and recognised as England’s heroic champion.

    If it was Pietersen alone venturing to India I have little doubt that the ECB would ban, suspend or drop him. They showed their hand over the coach versus captain issue. However, if Flintoff joins KP then I think the administrators will secede to the players demands.

    Saying that, it is a dangerous and potentially damaging situation for English cricket. What happens if Pietersen’s replacement scores a double ton or Flintoff’s takes ten wickets in the match?

    If the boot was on the other side of the planet and say Hussey and Haddin chose not to wear the BaggyGreen then the outcome would be certain. They’d be dropped and would have a hard time regaining their place.

  6. I suggest it’s partly the personalities, partly the records of those players and partly a cultural thing. While KP would have few friends, he would have some and Flintoff many. They would be portrayed as victims of a vindictive management and, quite likely, be advised to take legal action for restraint of trade or something related.

    If the ECB attempted to behave towards Flintoff as the BCCI has done over ICL players, I’m not sure that the British public would stand for it.

  7. Compromise reached and a good one too.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jan/22/modi-ipl-england-players

  8. I’m sure that Straussy’s calculations were based on the assumption that no England players will reach the final – we never usually do!

    Glad to see it’s sorted anyhow. Now fill yer boots, lads…

  9. After all the stress it was Much Ado About Nothing.

    So no-one misses a Test, I presume. Hopefully the Windies IPL players will also be available.

  10. Well Im a bit too late to comment on this one but Ideally you want the players to want to play for the country than for the IPL at every given time.

    If they do pick the IPL then they shouldnt be punished as long as an agreement is reached.

    I hope the English players dont end up in the mess our players did with the whole contracts and what not.

    But as Lalit Modi has said, the IPL wont loose anything by not having the Englishmen there. It will just be a bonus for them.


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