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Indian Premier League 2021

Shane Warne: Countries should stop picking players who choose IPL over international duty

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan came down heavily on cricketers who pick playing in the IPL over fulfilling international duties, with the Australian even suggesting that the ones who do so should not be picked for international matches.

The subject has been fervently discussed in recent times, with England’s IPL players allowed to miss their two-Test series against New Zealand. England lost 1-0, their first home series defeat since 2014, with the rest and rotation policy used during their tour of the subcontinent also coming in for criticism.

A few weeks after as many as seven Australian players pulled out of the upcoming tours of West Indies and Bangladesh, Warne and Vaughan stated that cricket boards need to be firmer with players who opt out of playing for their country to play in franchise T20 tournaments.

The seven players who are missing the tour — Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Daniel Sams, and Marcus Stoinis — were all part of the Indian Premier League. Following the tournament’s suspension, the players flew to the Maldives following the closure of Australia’s borders for travellers from India and were only released from hotel quarantine late last month.

Warner, Stoinis, and Maxwell have pulled out of the first edition of The Hundred as well.

“Look, I know it’s tough with the bubble and quarantine throughout the year, but the country has to take priority over franchise cricket. That’s the simple answer,” Warne said on the Road to the Ashes podcast.

Vaughan, who was a guest along with Warne, stated that international cricket was following the footsteps of the English Premier League, with players picking and choosing their international appearances.

“The stage has been set in the last few years, where the boards have been allowing players to pick and choose,” Vaughan said. “Recently, England allowed the players to stay in the IPL rather than play the Test match against New Zealand at Lord’s though the games were in the Future Tours Programme. We have to set a precedent here.

“Football in the UK is basically the Premier League, and then after every two years, they want to play for their country, be it in the Euros or the World Cup. Cricket is going down a similar path. They have to be very careful. The boards and national teams have to be stronger with the players. If they want international cricket in 20 years to be the pinnacle, they have to be strong with the players. Franchises have a huge amount of money but we have to be careful that international cricket has to be at number one. Or else cricket will be like the Premier League, where players pick and choose, and pull out of games and just play the tournaments.”

Warne is a mentor and ambassador at Rajasthan Royals, who have benefitted from England’s flexibility in allowing their players to play in the IPL, boasting the biggest English contingent of any side. However, his role at the team didn’t affect his viewpoint.

“It’s simple – I don’t hold a grudge against the players for the money that they have,” he said. “It’s fantastic. If they want the money, take the money. But if they want to play cricket for their country and choose the IPL over their country, well then, maybe they have to be punished — not punished, that’s the wrong word, maybe they have to choose because it’s not worth picking them.

“Because players will want to rest, and they will miss Test matches and miss playing for the country for money. It’s not a grudge – it’s hard to let go of three million bucks and play for a month and be away from your family for six weeks. It’s very easy to make that decision. But if you view yourself as a cricketer and [want to] test yourself against the best, there are only internationals to do it. If you want to play IPL, that’s fine, but know someone might replace you.”

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