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Is it time for cricket to take a stand?

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Kevin Howells | 11:07 UK time, Friday, 15 April 2011

I'm amazed how much optimism is to be found around the circuit at present. Predictions of county clubs playing out the end game financially led me to return from the World Cup expecting long faces.

The brilliant weather was a lucky break and the lucrative TV deal for England's forthcoming series against India is well timed. Even so there is a stance being taken by the sport here which says 'we know what we want and we know how to achieve it'. The question is can they?

It might prove to be a misplaced gamble of confidence and nobody is saying this year is going to be easy. Next season with the Olympics pushing everything to the side will be more challenging still.

I'm now wondering whether this is the time for our game to go a step further and stand up to players and agents who want the Indian Premier League money and still to turn out for England and their county clubs. From now on players should be told if you want to go and play as 'freelance' performers, do so.

I for one don't blame them chasing the money. It's a correct freedom of choice. But if that's the path they take, the clubs and the England and Wales Cricket Board should from next season say 'fine but we'll talk about different contracts and see you in June for our T20 and we'll pick our Test team from those who are fully committed to it'. Will that lead to us losing our best players? Possibly. But a compromise is unsustainable and I don't think it will.

Many stories interest me this season and Durham's fortunes are right up there. They could implode, as has been suggested to me, if they carry on as they did last year. To counter, the currently injured Steve Harmison rightly says 2010 was no train crash but it was clear they had lost their way. Preparation and approach appeared to have slipped. Director of cricket Geoff Cook talks of the 'chemistry' needing to return and making sure the 'emotions' are correct.

I'm backing the players to stop that slide. I think they'll remember what it was that made them the strong Championship-winning outfit, if they listen and most importantly act upon the things the right people tell them. There are some senior players who with the right responsible attitude will make them one of the two most serious challengers to Somerset who have universally been tagged as title favourites.

Yorkshire paceman Ryan Sidebottom

Sidebottom took 3-71 against Durham on the opening day of his first game back at Headingly

Nottinghamshire are the others but it will be tough for them. New exciting bowlers need to step up and replace their former player Ryan Sidebottom, who is now at Yorkshire. On the evidence against Hampshire they look like doing so, led again by the dangerous Andre Adams. There are concerns over the disruptions Yorkshire will face middle to late May onwards with England and Lions call-ups, however they will again be strong contenders.

I've had plenty of response from followers on Twitter this week to my asking why are the defending Champions not involved in the opening round of matches? I think it's an important issue as it seems many of you do. Notts, I understand, asked not to play that round. That's a shame.

Finally, I hope chief executives still believe on-field success is their main priority. Winning things does little to nothing to keep them alive financially but raising money must be a means to an end and not the end itself. That success should be with England-qualified players. Maybe you can write to your club and ask directly what their number one aim is?

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  • Comment number 1.

    Mr. Howells:
    I think your article is somewhat misguided !
    In yesteryear "County Cricket" was what everyone thought and talked about.
    Today it is the IPL.
    County criket would attract players from all over the world and one of the reasons was money.
    No country ever said, we wont consider you to play for us if you play county cricket in England !
    Today the shoe is on the other foot. People play in the IPL because it has surpassed what county cricket used to be !
    The standard is so high that it does not preclude any country from still choosing their own players simply from their performances at the IPL.
    In fact the time has come for the cricket boards of all countries to fit the IPL into their schedules.
    The only exception may be for Pakistan and I think that even their players may be included in IPL 2012.
    Is your article based on a case of sour grapes or reality ?

  • Comment number 2.

    @ 'FAIRPLAY'

    In what way is grown men, in gold lycra, slapping at full-tosses "the standard (that) is so high..."?

    Is your comment based on a complete lack of understanding of the sport, and a massive chip on your shoulder?

  • Comment number 3.

    Why dont you check out the names of the international cricketers playing in the IPL and look at the names of those in County Cricket and then you will get a better idea of the the present sport of professional cricket.
    We should allow English Cricketers to improve their game. their experience and most importantly their bank balances ! Look at what Pieterson and crowd themselves say about the IPL. Instead of holding their feet to the fire we should encourage this new phenomen on International cricket.
    Engish Cricket will be better off creating a window to accomdate the top Enlish players participating in the IPL along with the top players from a numer of other countries instead of burying their heads in the sand !

  • Comment number 4.

    Fairplay, the IPL is a private league, it is NOT and never will be International cricket.

    its a bit of a slap and dash fun that is all, the standard of cricket polayed is poor at best, sure big scores are made and lots of boundries are slogged (or should I say DFL maximums, we are not allowed to say sixes are we because the sponsors may be offended) that is mainly due to bad bowling.

    Sure players make a fortune playing it and good luck to them.

    But any player that puts IPL before his club, and particularly his country deserves no loyalty from them.

    The IPL may be held within the aegis of the BCCI but it is run by private individuals for their own amuesment, to suggest that the rest of the world should put all other cricket on hold while this private event takes place is ludicrous.

  • Comment number 5.

    I will give credit to FAIRPLAY on one issue though, County Cricket sure was the talk of the town going in to the last round last year. The final day was a real treat, with opportunities for 3 counties to take home the trophy. Sadly, it was somewhat marred by selfish decision by a former England player to announce his retirement from all forms of the game.

    IPL being the highest standard of the game? Give me a break. That has always been, and will always be, the 5-day format of the game. While T20 might be fun as the odd 'let's smack the ball around a bit' game on a international tour, it will never have the qualities that attracted me to the longer format of the game (bearing in mind, I only got into cricket 3 years ago at the tender age of 28, starting off by watching Graeme Smith, Neil McKenzie, and Hashim Amla save South Africa's bacon on day four of the Lord's test). Namely the even duel between bowler and batsman. T20 is too short for that, and it seems to me, that the bowlers are either trying to save themselves from being dispatched to the boundary - or they are attacking and either being dispatched or taking wickets. Vice versa the batsmen go in with the notion that every delivery is a scoring opportunity, and if they're unfortunate enough to get out, don't worry too much as there's another batsman waiting to come in.

  • Comment number 6.

    The IPL is a business that is meeting the demand of the Indian public for T20 that like the Packer series before it adds international players to sell the idea beyond its own national boudaries and raising the standard (in most cases) while ensuring the majority of the team are Indian that should benefit their national T20 team.

    How the othe franchises (ECB, ACB etc) manage their home calendar is not and should not be affected by the IPL. While any players are away the rest should have a chance to steal a march on their fellow professional but that is down to the intl & county selectors.

    With all these things we still need a balance of quality over quantity and until this is a achieved there will be player burn-out and the most talented players will chase the £.

  • Comment number 7.

    IPL is cricket version of NBA, NFA or European Football leagues. If every top cricketer wants to participate and show their talent, you cannot blame them when there is money and glamour. County cricket is local to England and no different from local cricket clubs in other countries. Accept and move on there is a sunset time for everything including empires...

  • Comment number 8.

    How did the notion of a sunset time for empires include cricket which presumably has survived empire as it is a sport that preceded empire by a few hundred years?

    County cricket has a very high standard - try watching it - which is an end in itself as well as providing players for our Test side. Many fans can enjoy the game and watch terrific players who are either not currently required in the England side or not favoured, outstanding bowlers like Blackwell and Harmison and Onions at Durham. Every County side has similar players as well as up and coming tyros such as Taylor and Stokes. These are thrilling batsmen.

    The IPL may be an exciting venture for cricket but it is limited and can never provide the satisfying depth of a Test Series or even the thrilling ODI game such as the India-England tie.

    It hasn't yet stood the test of time. Gaudy uniforms won't make up for the cricket if it is below par. And hitting sixes becomes a priority but a decent defence is not required. You cannot learn the skills of the game in 20 overs. It was designed for a family night out and the kids. That is fine. But let us not pretend that it is satisfying for aficionados of the game, and it will suffer from over exposure if the Twenty20 treadmill is relentless. Is money in charge or cricket in charge?

  • Comment number 9.

    We need all forms of the game..but the truth is fans are more interested in watching the T20 format than Test and 50 over version of cricket

  • Comment number 10.

    although why you do make a fair point kevin, battingforbell etc. the simple fact of the matter is a county cricketer will have at best about a 20 year career, and if they're lucky around ten of those will be as an international. correct me if i'm wrong, but the players on the full time ECB contract are on at best £100,000 per calender year? that is including the time spent away from home (from young families in many of the senior players cases).. therefore is it wrong for them to go play a month of cricket, with far less training/prep work compared to the struggles of the county game, to earn the same amount of money?

    saying no to IPL will create and exodus of players that unfortunantly we cannot lose - after all, broad pieterson etc. are the reasons people come to watch test matches in the first place

  • Comment number 11.

    @ 'KUMAR'

    I think you've summed it up very well there mate. T20 is simply far more exciting and appealing these days!

  • Comment number 12.

    im 27 and i am traditional county and test fan. t20 (ipl, friends prov. etc) is meant to be fun and not taken seriously. the only imprvements i have seen from t20 is the money earned by the players. its a private league with auction for international players thank goodness only one england player was brought.

    one issue kevin has missed is the impact of central contracts on county sides. when i was in my early teens in the 90's i could go to a county game when there was no test match on and see the england players from the county sides, now you only see them in one day or t20 games. this is way the crowds are so small for county games. its about time that countys should demand their england players to play county if bowling over 1000 overs is good enough trueman then is good enough for anderson, broad etc. the ecb have the england a closed shop where even if take over 100 wickets in county and are good enough to play for england due to the central contracts you wont get in.

  • Comment number 13.

    The amount of hatred and ill-feeling towards Indian cricket, especially the IPL is quite staggering. This coming from the country that introduced official T20 - although it must be said that we as kids were playing 20-20 in parks and streets from our earliest days all over the world. T20 has always been the people's game!

    When I first began watching county cricket in the late 70s, it was in a healthier state in terms of crowds. Even in those days, championship cricket drew paltry numbers compared to the 40 over Sunday league. Back in those days, the West Indians were the biggest overseas draw. How many games do you think Kallicharran and Greenidge played for their native Guyana and Barbados respectively? The domestic game in WI definitely suffered even if it took many yrs for the results to show.

    The fact is that there will always be a domestic circuit that attracts overseas players. England was fortunate all these yrs that its domestic season was played out in the Northern hemisphere but now with intl cricket being played all year round, today's overseas players are quite frankly 2nd tier to the ones I saw strutting their stuff in the 70s/80s.

    Despite the IPL, county cricket is still played with little rivalry from another cricket playing nation's domestic season. English fans should be grateful for that instead of spewing hatred. Furthermore, county cricket gets no sympathy from me when you consider its abuse of the Kolpak ruling and recently the "entrepenurial visa". Teams such as Derbyshire and Leicestershire have been an absolute disgrace in their recruitment of 2nd tier SA cricketers. Take a look at their roster over the last 3 seasons.

    We should applaud healthy domestic cricket in every country for it leads to a healthier international game. Kevin makes a good point about contracts and freelance cricketers but I'm not sure he's looked at it from the perspective of other countries: should their boards also lay out an ultimatum to their cricketers regards playing in championship cricket?

    The answer is that we should always look for a compromise so as fans we can see the best cricketers in every country while maintaining a viable domestic game. The IPL hardly bites into the English season and it would help if ppl calmed down and didn't view it as a ploy to destroy the English game.

  • Comment number 14.

    #1 'FAIRPLAY' wrote that the IPL is what "everyone thinks and talks about". But surely that's not the case? I've barely heard anyone mention it. Popular in the sub continent, no doubt; good luck to it.

    The last time it was on UK TV we learned that the audience was too small to be measured. Perhaps it will be bigger this time, but it's still only an overseas domestic Twenty20 competition.

  • Comment number 15.


    "In yesteryear "County Cricket" was what everyone thought and talked about.
    Today it is the IPL."

    Perhaps in India. Not here and I doubt it is in Australia, the West Indies, etc.

    "County criket would attract players from all over the world and one of the reasons was money. No country ever said, we wont consider you to play for us if you play county cricket in England !"

    The English county game was somewhere for players to play regularly and improve. The decline of the West Indies mirrored against a reduction in the number of West Indians playing county cricket is not coincidental in my view. Ask Michael Hussey if he considers county cricket to be rubbish and detrimental to his career. Indeed, go and ask Zaheer Khan how playing county cricket revived his career.

    "Today the shoe is on the other foot. People play in the IPL because it has surpassed what county cricket used to be ! The standard is so high that it does not preclude any country from still choosing their own players simply from their performances at the IPL."

    High standards? Piffle. Where's the high standard facing a bowler who you know only has 24 balls at you maximum on a pitch generally made more for batsmen than bowlers, with a boundary barely longer than a child's pitch and putt golf course? Alternatively, the IPL is the league where an average medium pacer like Manpreet Gony can be hailed as awesome. Snigger.

    "In fact the time has come for the cricket boards of all countries to fit the IPL into their schedules."

    Why? Because the IPL is wealthy and so everyone else should bend over and comply? The ICC willfully bent over and allowed the IPL to dominate.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am sorry Kevin what you have written here is not a reality but a complete bashing about IPL. I support Fairplay's and Insideedge's views on this. To Dacing_Hamster, if you think the IPL viewer's in UK are small, people in sub-continent never watch county cricket. Since you are boasting about county cricket why on earth two of your country cricket clubs are facing closure?

  • Comment number 17.

    1. For some of you folk who suufer from myopia, just ask international cricketers where they would like to play cricket ? County Cricket or the IPL ?

    2. Styen, Morkel, Malinga, Zaheer Khan, Vettori the worlds best bowlers are all playing in the IPL. (Lets not mention Warne and Murli !) Someone mentioned a lack of depth in bowling ????

    3. Tendulkar, Khalis, Sangakkara, and numerous others are all playing in IPL 2011 and someone mentioned a lack of standards ? When was the last time County Cricket could boat of this ?

    This forum is not intentioned as a pissing contest but one where we can truely reflect on the merits of different cricket programs.

    In yesteryear when the County Cricket program was considered the best boards from all the other cricket programs made way for it. Like somebody said it has unfortunately been SUNSET for Enlish county cricket and the time has come to move on to bigger and better things..... All for the betterment of the game.

  • Comment number 18.

    I am in total agreement with the article. Although I am an Indian and actively involved in the promotion of the game at the grassroot level, I feel the IPL is only a glamour event with plenty of money for the players. The IPL has yet to produce a single player who has gone on to shine in international cricket. It is the other way round, international players have shone in IPL. If the Boards of the various countries take a stand like many did at the time of the Packer crisis, it will be for the better for their country's cricket. After all the Indian Board should not control everyone in world cricket, that is sadly what is happening now. Definately over the period of time English County Cricket has helped foregin players improve their techniques and match temprement as they had to play mostly in not so good conditions. It is for England & Wales Board to take the initiative which will be for the overall good of cricket

  • Comment number 19.

    All of you are missing two points. What kind of cricket does the modern world support? Our fast passed life style support 5 days, 3 day, 1 day or a 4 hour game? Most thriving sports seem to be the ones which are played for 4 hours or less. We can debate the merits and de merits of T20 all we want but the market forces are the ones which will decide which one stands. Watching the ashes is amazing, I enjoy it. But can it survive when only 2 countries are providing support? The second point is talent flocks around money and money breeds talent. Time forces change . there is not much we can do about it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Almost pml at this one. Of course the ECB will take a stand. Against anyone and anything it thinks it can bully. Otherwise, it won't. You don't have to look much further than the events of the last week to see that. Warn the Irish cricketers about expressing their opinions about the ICC's recent decision, yup, they'll go for that. Stand up to the ICC, no. Personally, I think it's got nothing to do with the ECB where players choose to ply their trade, but tell KP, Strauss, Trott and any other England big name it's either IPL or England? I think not.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why should an article about declining profitability of County cricket talk about the IPL and its merits? County cricket should be able to stand on its legs and survive. It's called competition. No point talking about sour grapes and the good old days....

  • Comment number 22.


    I don't see golf suffering around the world. Indeed, the spread of golf around Asia is a massive sporting success. Formula 1 race meets last for three days and show no sign of slowing. I hear so much about this modern fast paced lifestyle... how fast is it really? It seems like a line parroted about to justify squashing something down into bite-sized pieces. Convenience food is food with a lot of the nutritional goodness taken out: I don't like my cricket to always be like that.


    1. Have you asked international cricketers where they would like to play? Of the list of bowlers, Steyn, Malinga, Zaheer, Warne, Vettori, and Murali have all played county cricket. Perhaps they'd like to play both because both offer different things. The IPL offers major cash, the English county game offers a chance for techniques to be tested, honed, and improved in vastly different conditions.

    2. Read my answer to 1. Plenty of top bowlers have played in the English game in recent years. Compare Steyn prior to county cricket and after for instance.

    3. All three players you mentioned have played county cricket at some point. The IPL offers financial reward. I'd suggest the cricketing challenge is different.

    "In yesteryear when the County Cricket program was considered the best boards from all the other cricket programs made way for it. Like somebody said it has unfortunately been SUNSET for Enlish county cricket and the time has come to move on to bigger and better things..... All for the betterment of the game."

    No they didn't make way for it. What utter tosh! How exactly did the Australian domestic game played in December make way for the English game played in April? When did the West Indian domestic season have to

    The IPL is bigger financially and in terms of spectator coverage. Whether it's better in terms of the quality of cricket played is a matter of debate. Personally I thought a lot of the cricket at the recent World Cup was very poor due to injury levels and fatigue and that the closeness of many games was more down to poor cricket than outstanding cricket.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ subram54, plz dont forget Virat Kohli, its was his IPL's performance that helped him settling down in India's batting line up, and look what he did last year. I think he scored most ODI runs/ second most ODI runs. There are other players like him, i.e. Aswin. Its not just about India, the same thing happened for Australia as well, e.g. S Marsh.

    My point is, IPL is not only about glamour, it also helps in the development of cricket. Obviously, the more you play, the more you know- whoever playing IPL definitely learning a thing or two each game- specially the intensity, handling of pressure and power hitting. The formulae of game is changing. We see Shewag, Dilshan, Gayle & Tamim scoring test hundreds with more than 100% strike rate.

    Lets not forget that only some 12-14 countries play cricket in true sense. Why not the others? I spoke with some of my African friend's who only knows about football. But, nowadays they are getting interested in IPL. Surely T20 has a greater role in spreading the game of cricket.

    I think the real criticism about IPL should be its political side. For example, (i) Pakistani players can't play IPL, (ii) there's no clubs from Pakistan and Bangladesh representing the Champions legaue, (iii) they way BCCI trying to manipulate other countries' structure- like they did last year- they made a deliberate contradiction between English county and Champions league. This is happening in other areas as well, e.g. 10 teams to participate in 50 overs World Cup.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Cricket as a 5 day game spred to a very few countries. As a 1 day game it spread to a few more countries. Lets see how it will do as T20!

  • Comment number 26.

    Cricket is cricket. Some like the test cricket, some the one day format and some T-20. There is an audience for each format. People have choice. Likewise players should pick and choose whatever format they want to play and wherever. This is like a good job offer that betters your current job and location. Some flock to middle east to take advantage of tax-free salary. Does that mean they are not patriotic?

    If any organization prevents players from playing in IPL, that is outright wrong. If these players are available for test cricket then take them as long as they are still fit enough to make it to the top 11. Why would any country not pick the best players no matter where they play? A country picks its best talent to play against another country. Let overall talent, fitness be the criteria for playing test cricket.

    Incidentally, what is wrong if India or Sri Lanka or any other country becomes the hotbed for one form of cricket.

  • Comment number 27.

    T20 is cricket for people that don't watch cricket. Given the emphasis on wild hitting, I'd rather watch the Hong Kong Sixes.

  • Comment number 28.

    Cricket fans in England/Wales may or may not be sufficently interested in domestic cricket to support 18 First Class counties (that's up for debate) but where is the sign they are interested in the IPL? Who's talking about the IPL apart from in blogs like this? How many people are following the IPL in the UK, even though it is free to do so?

    Why should people in the UK have any more interest in the IPL than Indian fans would have in county cricket?

  • Comment number 29.

    The English Counties, like the IPL, are privately owned clubs. International cricket is played by professionals who are in it for money ( and national pride, of course).

    It makes no sense to ask professionals to choose between money and national pride. Go ahead, ban your players from playing in the IPL and see what happens.

    The IPL is "fun", "grown men, in gold lycra, slapping at full-tosses" and all that, but it is also a format that stretches the skills of even renowned players like Tendulkar, Malinga and Kallis. These players are having to play out of their skins to make match-winning contributions.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think fears about the IPL are largely unfounded. Remember it's only a six week affair and the players are not full-time employees of the franchise. Even Indians are afraid the the IPL will subtract and negatively affect the Indian national team. The international game has always taken absolutely precendence over the county/domestic game. Cricket is not football. I feel, in fact that the IPL is in fact good for the game. We should be reducing internationals and then rationalize the annual schedule so that there is not too much overlap. If we show that we are supportive of the IPL, I'm sure they will accomodate us. The anti-Western Modi is no longer involved now. I am confident there can be peaceful co-existence of the IPL and the county game.

  • Comment number 31.

    thereasonableman , I was associated with Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma in the year 2004 as the Manager of the Delhi Under 17 team. In a Tv broadcast subsequently I predicted both of them would play for the country, nothing great on my part as their talent was clearly visisble. After that they have performed outstandingly for Delhi and that is how they came into the Indian Team. Similarly R Ashwin has performed outstandingly for Tamilnadu and only on that basis is he playing for the country. It is really unfortunate that the winner and runner up of the Indian domestic twenty 20 are not granted entry for the Champions whreas from other countries it is the national champion and runner up who play in the tournament. What I am trying to say is that a club tournament which the IPL is should not be allowed to control when international cricket should be allowed, that would be very bad for the game in the future.

  • Comment number 32.

    Donald Rockhopper:

    I agree with your comment that there is no necessity that people in England should be interested in IPL as it is a Indian domestic league.

    But i can see IPL is more watched or followed league in UK compared to County season followed in India.The best evidence is UK broadcasters buying IPL TV rights whereas no one has brought County cricket telecast rights in India.I am sure this reflects the bussiness done by TV channels based on viewership.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mr. Howel,
    I think IPL is the best thing that has happened to the game of cricket in all respects. This is a good platform to showcase the performance of cricketers on international level. The players who opt to play for IPL and for their respective clubs/counties and countries should negotiate with their employers prior to their joining the IPL squad if selected, so that a different clause can be introduced into their contracts. Playing for IPL should not stop a player to be selected for his home team, neither under performance should matter. Off-course performing well will be good for the player.

  • Comment number 34.

    Test cricket or T20 is like debating the good old post vs twitter...

  • Comment number 35.

    I am a big India cricket fan, but the emphasis here 'cricket' as well as India. FAIRPLAY, you strike me as the generation of fans who likely knew nothing of cricket before the IPL.

    Sachin, Dravid are Kumble a few of the greats that the roots of India's WC win have been built upon and they all agree as to the primacy of Test cricket. A good Test cricketer will always be able to adapt to T20, but the converse is not necessarily true, and correct me if I'm wrong but there haven't been many examples yet to have done that. Australia's David Warner hasn't made a successful transition to 50 over cricket yet, neither has Pollard for WI and Yusuf Pathan for all his blazing cameo's could not be relied upon when it came to the crunch during the world cup campaign. In my opinion, Pujara who very much in the Dravid mould, is amongst India's most promising Test batsmen, but this has nothing to do with T20 or the IPL but rather his consistency and application of technique shown playing for Saurashtra. Kohli is another quality find, but again he came to light because of his performances for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy. Another point is where IPL will produce Test class bowlers from, without which India will struggle to retain their number one status? I'm sure you aren't ignorant of the benefits County stints for both RP Singh and Zaheer Khan. I would add the a season in County cricket would be hugely beneficial for Ishant Sharma to cement his role and India's leading Test pace bowler once Zaheer retires. The variety of batsmen and pitches would be a boon for the young man,

    The fact is one MUST have a three/four day competition to produce Test cricketers so the Ranji Trophy, County Championship etc are essential for producing cricketers of quality. Just because you are ignorant of them doesn't make them irrelevant to cricket (I would argue the opposite in fact).

    The IPL is great for spreading cricket beyond its natural fan base (women, casual fans) and mainly in India and does provide a new avenue for a young domestic player to make a name and earn large sums of money. All the players you mention are proving the high-standard of IPL were already established players long before the IPL existed. They are high quality players playing in a 6 week T20 competition, but the fact is they have all done the hard yards in the longer forms of the game at domestic and international level.

    There is a place for both forms of the game in cricket and a true cricket fan must be able to appreciate both and recognise that neither is better then the other. However, one is a proven form and test of quality (the longer game, wherever it is played) which the shorter form of the game feeds off.

  • Comment number 36.

    What is IPL now in cricket has been EPL in football for long. The best players in the world play EPL. Same will now happen to IPL. Where did Shane Watson come from? In the years to come IPL will provide the platform to attract attention. And it will attract new spectators to cricket who cannot wait five days or even one day for a result.

  • Comment number 37.

    addange, Shane Watson was an established player for New South Wales and was chosen for Australia based on his performances in the Australian domestic game, not the IPL.

    By the way, its called the Premier League or Premiership here, no-one calls it the EPL. The huge difference is that there is only one form of established football, and it is played by all countries in their domestic leagues. Whereas the IPL is T20 cricket and the best players in the world are measured by their performances in Test cricket.

    T20 is a fine money-spinner, but it relies on established names who have made their mark in Test/International cricket.If India had no domestic competitions but the IPL, we would not have won the World Cup and we certainly would not be anywhere near the top pf the Test rankings.

  • Comment number 38.


    I think you should ask SHANE WATSON how his career only took off because of IPL

    Ask English players - I think KP said participation in the IPL played its part in us winning the T20 world cup. and i truly believe that...

    Not sure which world you guys live in, quality and depth of cricketing talent in England is at all time low. You take KP, Morgan, Trott out - whats left is English batting talent. I'm afraid its the policies of ECB to look for short-term dosh of sky thats hurting cricket at grassroot levels. In ten years time there will be even less english born cricketers.....we need to bring cricket to the masses. If ITV does that with IPL - its great. I would JUST IGNORE THE NEGATIVE SENTIMENT TOWARDS IPL

    IPL in cricket is like English premier league in football (or how it use to be).

  • Comment number 39.


    Shane watson had been given chances and was taken out of national squad after he couldnt perform on international level. Warne gave him a chance in the IPL, and after his man of the tournament performance in the first IPL, was drafted straight into aussie one-day and test squad.

    Ask the aussies....
    Also guys like Punter, clarke were in the IPL auction but didnt attract any bids as they both had been out of form. Hussey is doing ok in the IPL.
    Can you think of any proper international star - who decided to not put his name in the IPL bidding? The matter of the fact is - bar some of the english players - all top players in the world are in the IPL

  • Comment number 40.


    Shane Watson's career did not take off because of the IPL. The talent was there way beforehand. Watson's career took off when the Aussies finally saw sense and stopped trying to make him a 20 overs a day bowler who could score Test centuries and actually focused on his batting. The guy had enough talent with the bat alone to be a top six player for Australia and the insistence that he bowl was crippling him literally. Sometime after the 2009 Ashes the Aussies finally twigged this. Claiming that the IPL (started 2008) was responsible for Watson's elevation to the top level when he made his Test debut in 2005 is ridiculous.

    "Ask English players - I think KP said participation in the IPL played its part in us winning the T20 world cup. and i truly believe that..."

    This is the same KP who, when made England captain, admitted he couldn't read a pitch. As much as I admire his batsmanship, KP is not the man I'd call up if I were looking for an in-depth and intellectual breakdown of why England succeeded in the World T20. A simple answer would have been 'good team selection and few injuries'.

    "Can you think of any proper international star - who decided to not put his name in the IPL bidding?"

    Lots of players put their name in. They want the money. The fact the IPL has the top players is still no indicator of actual quality. The Hefner mansion is full of hot blondes but that's no indication of quality!

    "Not sure which world you guys live in, quality and depth of cricketing talent in England is at all time low. You take KP, Morgan, Trott out - whats left is English batting talent."

    Hmm. Strauss? Cook and his run scoring over the summer? I'm heartily sick of this 'English batsmen' gibberish people throw up. If you qualify for a country, that's good enough for me. It's like denouncing French World Cup triumphs because they had a number of non-French born players playing for them.

    Currently in the world immigration and migration means the ties to a country are blurred. This is why we end up with Saffers for England, a Pakistani turning his leg breaks for South Africa, a Muslim from Pakistan playing for Australia, and an Australian playing for the West Indies. Honestly GAV, you talk about the modern game that is the IPL and then ditch on England spouting all the traditional nonsense about 'English born cricketers'.

    If the Indian game is so great, then why does the IPL rely on overseas talent in order to be great? Why can't it be great with purely homegrown talent?

    "I'm afraid its the policies of ECB to look for short-term dosh of sky thats hurting cricket at grassroot levels. In ten years time there will be even less english born cricketers.....we need to bring cricket to the masses. If ITV does that with IPL - its great. I would JUST IGNORE THE NEGATIVE SENTIMENT TOWARDS IPL"

    I don't disagree on how the ties with Sky are hurting English cricket and have been more than vocal about them on various BBC blogs. Indeed, you might wish to read the blog Oliver Brett did on the Irish getting dumped out of the World Cup and how I found it curious that ESPN Cricinfo didn't cover this more.

    You assert that there will be fewer English born players in ten years time. How and why?

  • Comment number 41.

    IPL bidding? The matter of the fact is - bar some of the english players - all top players in the world are in the IPL.

    Incorrect. The Pakistanis and Bangladeshis aren't there (yes Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal would walk into any IPL team) so you can't say all the best players are represented in the IPL.

    Besides, you are mistaking cause and effect. The IPL is the effect of top players coming to play in the league, and why wouldn't they? The money and exposure is great. The cause is Test cricket where these players have made their name. That makes it a league with great players, but not necessarily a great league. How can a six week T20 tournament make a 'great' league?

    Incorrect- Shane Watson's resurgence came after his injury and transformation from a hit the deck bowler to a skiddier, more tactical operator. This happened in Australia in 2009 when he was drafted into Australia's Ashes first eleven. Needless to say this was not as a result of any IPL cameo innings.

    Like I said earlier, the IPL is great for broadening crickets fan base to casual fans and celeb spotters. True fans of cricket regardless of team will take it as a entertaining 6 weeks, and not an indicator of greatness in any player who performs in that tournament. I'm not saying that there won't be good places who are discovered in the IPL, but the fact is that there is a massive leap from that to Test success.

  • Comment number 42.

    Massive chip on the shoulder!! The county cricket is a farce...Trott, Morgan, KP et al hardly played any county cricket and they are England's best players...And now with ICC stopping Ireland from playing in the next WC, the English XI will look a lot like the International XI!!

  • Comment number 43.

    What may have hindered County cricket is the lack of exposure on mainstream free tv. You can catch highlights of the ipl on ITV 3 yet where are county cricket highlights? The BBC or another free to air channel needs to do more to aid exposure of County cricket. The current situation is that if you don't have s*y sports you can't watch the matches on tv and you can only watch the highlights on the net. Not everyone can afford a s*y sports subscription so it is limited to a small minority.

    The written press also needs to aid this exposure, we hear on a daily basis what Premier league players are up to on or off the field but what about the county cricket or the cricketers? Ask the average person in the street to name 5 footballers you'll find that most can do it in less then a minute, ask them to name 5 cricket players?

    On the subject of the IPL a bit of T20 is all fun to watch for a short time but as has been said earlier it lacks the depth and skill required for the longer versions of the game (50 over or 4-5 day cricket. It should be used as a promotional tool for cricket but not be vindicated as the pinnacle of the cricket world.

  • Comment number 44.

    42. At 17:00pm 17th Apr 2011, UCB wrote:
    Massive chip on the shoulder!! The county cricket is a farce...Trott, Morgan, KP et al hardly played any county cricket and they are England's best players...


    Seriously? That old argument?

    Firstly, the vast, vast majority of their professional cricket has been played in England. Sure, they may have played some cricket in their countries of birth, but none of them were anywhere near international class when they made their county debuts.

    Secondly, what about the likes of Cook (700 Ashes runs), Swann (possibly the world's best spinner), Anderson (possibly the world's best swing bowler), Broad (regularly in the ICC top 10 bowlers) and Strauss (led the team to two Ashes triumphs)? And we have a host of good young players coming through too. Or shall we just ignore this in the face of the 'easy' argument?

  • Comment number 45.

    #42 'And now with ICC stopping Ireland from playing in the next WC, the English XI will look a lot like the International XI'

    Players qualify for England by birthplace, nationality or residency. The rules are drawn up by the ICC and are the same for all test countries. How many current Irish players are both eligible and worthy of selection for England? I suggest that the answer is none.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is the problem IPL money, IPL format or disbelief that a nation like India can hold IPL ??

    people who think IPL money is a problem will surely then agree the premier league is the biggest problem...

    People disagreeing to the IPL format will agree that 20-20 format has played a good part for India to win the world cup and being No. 1 in test ranking since 2009 (period when IPL began)...

    I think English cricketers should participate to gain valuable experience which cannot unfortunately cannot be obtained in the current County environment.

    people with disbelief can switch to ITV4...

  • Comment number 47.

    Dear All,

    I left cricket playing country in 1984 and moved to USA and lost touch with the game I loved. The test cricket and other forms of "traditional" cricket played out side USA was not available to folks in USA who love this game very much.

    Well thanks to IPL not only the lovers of "traditional" cricket but also folks who never cared for the game of cricket are hooked to this game. May be traditionalist will say who cares for USA based fans. May you should. The traditional cricket playing countries have some how have sustained the game but has not done much for the popularity of the game outside their own borders.

    Thanks to Mr. CP from Australia, IPL, some players, etc the game of Cricket is on fire (second most followed game compared to soccer). The momentum is building and I am very happy for it as a fan. The global cricket players make some good money and there is nothing wrong with it.

    So traditionalist - eat your heart out. What CP started in Australia took a bit long but here to stay. Work with this phenomenon. YOU WILL LOVE IT .....

  • Comment number 48.

    "Secondly, what about the likes of Cook (700 Ashes runs), Swann (possibly the world's best spinner), Anderson (possibly the world's best swing bowler), Broad (regularly in the ICC top 10 bowlers) and Strauss (led the team to two Ashes triumphs)? And we have a host of good young players coming through too. Or shall we just ignore this in the face of the 'easy' argument?"

    Every country has a few good/great players. The fact is England has achieved nothing in cricket even after so many years of county cricket existence...never been #1 in tests or won a single ODI WC!! All the players that you have mentioned came cropper in the QF match against Sri Lanka and England was beaten by 10 wickets!! The only two players who put up a good fight was Trott and Morgan...go figure!!

  • Comment number 49.

    "Is the problem IPL money, IPL format or disbelief that a nation like India can hold IPL ?"

    You have hit the nail in the head...the disbelief that a nation like India can hold IPL and has all the best players in the world and their boards at BCCI's mercy!

    All the english posters lambasting the evil IPL had no problem when ECB hosted the Stanford 20/20...their argument being it will popularize the cricket in West Indies!! People have such short memories...

  • Comment number 50.

    If we're looking to get younger fans into the game of cricket, then I'm afraid that T20 (especially IPL) is the only way to do it. The majority of kids (note majority, not all, I have a 14 year old son who loves the long 4/5-day format) won't want to watch a game for hours on end. The IPL offers exciting and exhillirating cricket which kids will prefer.

    I don't like it, but I believe that's the way it is and will be.

  • Comment number 51.

    UCB- I am an India cricket fan since the early 90's and the days when Srikanth and Prabhakar were opening the batting for India so its not just 'English posters' as you mention that are lambasting the evil IPL.

    If you read my posts carefully, you will see that at no point is is saying that the IPL is evil, but rather it is not the pinnacle of a cricketers achievement. I imagine any cricketer would say that and I know Dravid, Tendulkar and Kumble all have done so. I dread to think of an Indian Test eleven that I will be watching to be drawn from the IPL's best performers, the standard of cricket is appreciably lower then international standard and T20 and Test cricket are different games entirely !

    I trust you follow the Ranji Trophy matches as much as the IPL, because that is what India's Test team will be based on, and it always has been. Or are you against 4 day Ranji-Trophy cricket because it is not attended by celebrities ?

    Read the interview by Zaheer Khan on how his season with Worcestershire transformed his career (his Test bowling average before was mid-30's and since then has been 29).

    As for the Stanford 2020- I was against that as well so not sure what you are basing your points on? You seem to have a chip on your shoulder that anyone that says anything that doesn't drool over the IPL is somehow anti-Indian.

  • Comment number 52.

    Some people talking about T20 is all about hard-hitting and slogging.... and saying we dont want to give credit to that format of the game which is bullshit,it's takes great amount of skill and ability to hit the ball cleanly over the ropes and people who are against or who dislike this T20 format are going into sunset...I think in 10 years time we could end up in having only 20-20 form of game

  • Comment number 53.

    I think you are wrong saying that or comparing IPL with International matches,like you mentioned yes test cricket is different to T20..but u av to remember both forms need different type of skills to score runs or take wickets

  • Comment number 54.

    #49 'All the english posters lambasting the evil IPL had no problem when ECB hosted the Stanford 20/20...their argument being it will popularize the cricket in West Indies!! People have such short memories...'

    Nonsense. Almost all the English media were opposed to the Stanford venture and very few ordinary fans were in favour.

  • Comment number 55.

    Kumar, did you stay up all night to watch India beat Australia in Perth 2008? People will remember India's win against Australia in Kolkata with Bhaji's hat-trick. Or Dravids gritty hundred on the opening day on a seaming pitch against a quality England seam attack. If you did then you will know that nothing comes close to the drama and skills required in a Test match.

    Yes skills are required in T20, but many more skills are required in the longest form of the game. You are wrong that T20 will be the only form of the game in ten years time.

    They said the 50 over game was dead but the recent WC disproved that. What it did show was that cricket needs context. Hopefully the World Test Championship will provide that.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ P J Walton

    "I think fears about the IPL are largely unfounded. Remember it's only a six week affair and the players are not full-time employees of the franchise".

    Cricket is not football. I feel, in fact that the IPL is in fact good for the game. We should be reducing internationals and then rationalize the annual schedule so that there is not too much overlap. If we show that we are supportive of the IPL, I'm sure they will accomodate us"

    Hi, first post on a cricket forum as I'm new to the game, mainly a follower of rugby. The problem of having too many games is obvious in Football, Rugby and Cricket, something needs to be done in all sports to reduce the number of games (especailly ones which aren't taken that seriously such as the LV= Cup (rugby).

    As P J Walton says I think the solution is linked with supporting the IPL, surely with commitment and communication from all participants in competitions something could be worked out.

    @ Neil M
    "I am a big India cricket fan, but the emphasis here 'cricket' as well as India. FAIRPLAY, you strike me as the generation of fans who likely knew nothing of cricket before the IPL".

    I take it that as a new fan of cricket through watching the ODI World Cup after my girlfriends promptings who's a big cricket fan, and subsequently getting my fix of cricket through the IPL while also investing in tickets to see my local team, buying a cricket set and enjoying the game very much and wanting to give it a go myself, am I unwelcome to watch cricket in your company? That's certainly how your comments comes across. Maybe I should give up following cricket, sell my set and tickets to my local clubs game, as I got into the game through a route other than Test cricket.

    As a result of my interest I've managed to encourage a couple of my friends to come and watch our local side, whilst also getting some of them to watch the IPL, is this not a good thing, because if like me, they find cricket is a great sport and want to take part in either playing or watching, shall I tell them that as part of the new generation that we should just forget it?

  • Comment number 57.

    The Unite90, I have no problem with new fans coming to appreciate the great sport that is cricket and welcome your interest. That, as I said in my earlier post is a great strength of T20 cricket and the IPL as well.

    What I do have an issue with is those people denigrating long established forms of the game that are the pinnacle of the sport, i.e. Test cricket. When they are not aware of its history or driving force behind the current game.

    It is also sad to see people who are ignorant of cricket in other countries and their traditions which have served cricket well for so long (The County Championship for example).

  • Comment number 58.

    Test cricket is pinnacle of cricket,yes I watched all those games u mentioned,recent ashes series and Ind tour of SA,nothing comes close to test cricket and am looking forward for this english summer of cricket with Sri lanka and India coming to England,its going to be a great summer for cricket fans

  • Comment number 59.

    There is no doubt that the IPL is at this moment the most exciting cricket on TV. It may not result in much player technical improvement although imagine the benefit a young english player like morgan would get playing with someone like sachin tendulkar....

    Listening to AB de Villiers on microphone the other day was awesome. There is no doubt that as well as the financial incentive, he loves being out there and I can say the same for most the other international cricketers....why deny this to British cricketers?

    I think with cricket there has been a massive power shift....England cannot compete with India in terms of cricket popularity and that is why the BCCI have such a powerful hold over cricket....imagine cricket without any of the subcontinent teams....

    No doubt the IPL benefits Indian cricket as they have a minimum quota of young players but I think every country can benefit...during the world cup commentators often commented on England's lack of flair and the only way they will develop this is I believe by playing in the IPL on flat tracks!

    Hope to see more English players in the next IPL and maybe we can give Steve Tikolo a shot as

  • Comment number 60.

    NeilM, thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. I can understand the point you are making and I hope I'm not one of those, I'm very keen to get into Test cricket, although it'll take me years to pick up even a part of the historical knowledge that someone like you may have.

    There's similar arguments in rugby, with the promotion of Rugby Sevens to some potentially dooming the XV game, especially in the developing (sporting wise) nations. At the end of the day the XV code and test cricket should stand the test of time, I can't see Sevens or T20/IPL overtaking them, they may become very popular in their own right but I think a lot of people who get into these version are likely to, in the end, get into the longer forms.

  • Comment number 61.

    Folks you are assuming that some of us are "ignorant" when it comes to "traditional" forms of cricket and do not know anything about the long history of the game of Cricket. NOT correct. Have lots of gray hair and news paper articles to prove you wrong.

    History is to learn from and adapt. May be the lyrics of a '60s great singer (Bob D) will put this issue to perspective - "...the times they are a changing...".

    I am sure Cricket will survive change or no change. A new format or rise of IPL will be of great help in the South East Asia (e.g. Afghanistan) not only for the global traditional Cricket but also the welfare of younger players with limited opportunities. Encourage you all to help the game become popular and accessible to all.

  • Comment number 62.

    Gentlemen, Gentlemen, Gentlemen:
    This is not about IPL v/s County Cricket.
    This is about whether the ECB should create a window in the Enland calender so that the English players who wish to compete in the IPL get this opportunity to:
    1) earn some money and 2) horne their skills.
    This where I disagree with Mr. Howells. In my humble opinion, English players should be encouraged to participate with the biggest and best from elsewhere instead of penalizing them for doing so.
    Presently the mentality is to dismiss the IPL as a nobody, when in fact it is indeed a BIG phenonmenon in world cricket, and from all indications is here to stay.
    With regards to popularity (and here again without pitting county cricket against the IPL) the stands appear to be much fuller at the IPL than at County Cricket games.
    Lastly people are still talking about the Ashes as if it still is a BIG deal. In the winter of 2010-2011 it was country rated 4 playing aginst country rated 5. Come-on guys wake up and smell the roses. This are not the days when Australia were numbers 1 and 2 in world cricket.
    Even S.Africa today is better than both Australia and Enland !

  • Comment number 63.


    In one breath you say the IPL is full of the world's best players, the next you say that people dismiss it as a nobody. Make up your mind, sonny. Maybe you should spend some time 'horne'ing (sic) your skills. Everyone knows the lure of the IPL.

    South Africa better than England? Not by last year's results in T20 cricket, the World Cup performances, and in Test matches. Pretty equal, all said.


    "I think with cricket there has been a massive power shift....England cannot compete with India in terms of cricket popularity and that is why the BCCI have such a powerful hold over cricket....imagine cricket without any of the subcontinent teams...."

    Nonsense. The hold the BCCI have over cricket is nowt to do with popularity and everything to do with the ICC being an organisation as secretive and as 'honourable' (snigger) as FIFA.


    "All the english posters lambasting the evil IPL had no problem when ECB hosted the Stanford 20/20...their argument being it will popularize the cricket in West Indies!! People have such short memories..."

    ...and you have no memory of countless English posters being disgruntled by the love-in with Stanford. Indeed, I myself had many posts removed by the BBC giving Mihir Bose a hard time for going back on some of his previous articles once Stanford fell from grace. The Stanford T20 was tacky and the ECB looked like a desperate calf sucking on the financial teat. There was plenty of English criticism at the time and plenty going on now toward the ECB for going with Sky and Murdoch's money.

  • Comment number 64.

    Many people didn't understand what fairplay says.

    I would like to make a point many people would have been enjoying if there is an IPL in place of IPL.Hope you guys got it

  • Comment number 65.

    I am sorry to say that the world is driven by money and the chance for profit. It is an inexorable force that cannot be combated by wishful thinking. Examine the facts:

    * The IPL is wealthy
    * The ICB is wealthy
    * The ECB is poor
    * Country cricket is poor

    What will survive is that which profits.

    I started watching country cricket in 1969 and have seen competitions come and go. And the country cricket of today is not what is was in 1969. It has, and will continue to change.

    I hope what comes out of all this is a longer version of the game that appeals to me. I am also aware that is not guaranteed. If the only thing left in the game is bang, wallop and dancing girls, then I will find some other pastime.

  • Comment number 66.

    England invents cricket>England invades India>England teaches the savages cricket> India re-invents cricket and buys English players.

    Don't complain you shouldn't have invaded in the first place. Thats karma.

    Allow the ECB, county cricket, and your empire hang ups. No one is listening to little England anymore, boo hoo, please don't cry. JUST GET OVER IT!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Folks, It was interesting reading all the posts here.

    Unfortunately, there are hard to change folks on either side. This should not be about England vs India. We are all and must be grateful to England for giving us this game we love. It is true that the first format of the game was a 5 day test. Then came the 1 day 50 over game.

    Please, the pundits of the game tell me if there was so much opposition to this new 1 day format. Here again the objective was who can do better(the ball or the bat). It has stood the test of time and all countries participate in it with different players who are adept at it. You have test cricketers who take their time but once settled provide us all happiness through their stroke-play or their bowling.

    We all have to thank England for giving us the T20 format. Again the objective is the same (the ball vs the bat) except it is meant for those players who can adapt quickly.

    I am from India but moved to the States over 20 years ago. I used to mention to my American friends about the 5 day game of cricket. They all used to laugh at me because they could not fathom a game taking 5 days and that it might also have no result or end in a draw.

    Take any of the major sports in America (football, baseball, basketball), all have great following, big money, lots of glitter and glamor on the sidelines. All these games have 4 qtrs of 15min. The game is stretched by smartly placing timeouts and halftime to exactly 3hours. You have 70,000 people attending it every Sunday for 6 months.

    I do not think there was a 5 day version of football to discuss the merits and demerits of a shortened format. There is no discussion of where the quality came from. Most professionals come from the colleges. They are drafted. Some quit college to enter into professional football for money. Then there is CFL (Canadian Football League) that no body cares about. Only the dropouts of NFL go to CFL.

    I believe test cricket has its place. The local county cricket in England or the Ranji and Duleep Trophy in India have their place. They may be the breeding ground for great talent.

    I am sure the world enjoyed the Ashes of 2010. I was on email with a friend of mine in Sydney during the test matches and I was rooting for England against Punter and his team.

    I am also sure the world enjoyed the WC2011 in the sub-continent. I believe it had the best ratings. I watched the India England game or the England Ireland game several times. I watched the highlights of semis and finals 3 times.

    I agree with some of the purists that T20 is too fast paced to produce quality. T20 has a very short history to suggest if the greats like Sachin, Mahela, Rahul, Zaheer, Malinga, Lee etc became famous due to Test cricket or T20.

    Again, is it not fair to say that bowlers try to restrict the batsman no matter what the length of the game is? Be it 5 day, 1 day or 4 hours, the objective is victory for the ball or bat.

    I am not sure why some blogs are up in arms against IPL. Some blogs here were merely jingoistic be it for England or India. We all have to recognize it is just evolution. Like everything in life today speed is given priority and is winning. We do not have 5 days to go and watch a game that can have no result. We are all looking for shortened form to provide entertainment. I don't think we will watch a Hollywood movie for 5 days or 1 day. We like the Harry Potter movie to end in 2 hrs.

    People have to recognize the game we all love is undergoing some changes. There are going to be some winners and some losers. Today it is IPL that is making money and bringing in International players.

    I want to discuss what I like about IPL. It has opened itself up for International players. These players can also be captains of these clubs. It is not said that only Indians can be playing or captain the teams. The best in the business are given priority.

    The second point I like about IPL is the camaraderie of the players. Be it from Australia or West Indies or England or Srilanka or South Africa the players have bonded. In the first IPL we also had players from Pakistan. I strongly believe the nastiness on the field when they play for the countries will reduce. I strongly believe Pakistan should be included in the next IPL. I believe Afridi would not have made those nasty comments about India and Indians if he was coming back to play in the IPL.

    In the end, each format has its place. If T20 is thriving in the form of IPL, so what is wrong. At the end of the day the world is coming closer. No matter who you are your abilities are cheered.

    If IPL is the medium that is fostering peace then so be it.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dear Aru, County Pro 40 cricket and county 20/20 are both screened in India on the free channel Star Cricket.

  • Comment number 69.

    Take no notice of Harmison. One game a month at Durham is 'too much cricket' for him these days.

    Yes, a 'central contract' means a 'central contract', giving England the right to say who plays where and when. I've heard a figure of £250,000 a year bandied around as the figure. If any (South African born top order) players want to take their chance in the IPL and other events, then they don't get a central contract, and England pick them as they see fit.

    You don't get it both ways!!

  • Comment number 70.

    A couple of years ago, I heard Mike Atherton make a very eloquent point about England central contracts and the IPL.

    He pointed out that England players are very well looked after in terms of contracts, sponsored cars, mobile phones etc, as well as being paid when they're injured (some players have spent months and even years out injured while still in receipt of a central contract) and having the ECB pick up the tab for all your physio/rehab.

    Athers reckoned if you sign up for all the lucrative benefits of central contracts, in return the ECB should decide when you play, and who for (whether for England, county or IPL side).

    However, if you want to be a "freelance" cricketer, England would still consider you for selection (and pay you on a match fee basis), but you wouldn't get all the car/phone/physio/paid when you're injured benefits.

  • Comment number 71.

    T20 has it's place for cricket, be it IPL or otherwise, it will spread the game to new frontiers and allow more spectators to watch, who may in turn then go onto the longer formats. It's quality though is debatable, yes there are lots of international players playing IPL, but the likes of Tendulkar, Kallis, Steyn, Murali etc earned their skills and reputation playing Test Cricket. Can a player reach this status through T20 cricket? I seriously doubt it, the true test of a player's skill is Test Cricket and they all know this, how many of the the Indian player's in the IPL have gone on to make a name for themselves? The top performers in the IPL are established international stars, players who have honed their skills all over the world including county cricket.

    No country will produce top test players from T20, this is why the County Championship, the Ranji trophy etc are so important. I find it funny that India's recent world cup win has been mentioned and England's poor performance with it of examples of the IPL's affect. Yet it wasn't really surprising that 3 sub continent teams made the semi finals of a world cup in home conidtions, conditions that are quite unique and they have played on all their lives. It's the performances of these teams away from home that is the problem, look at India's poor showing in the 2007 World Cup, Pakistan's poor showing in England last year, Sehwag's drop in average of over 10 away from home, examples that show that these players need experience away from home, which is where the like's of the County Championship come in. As mentioned, many of these top stars, like Zaheer Khan, have had had hugley succesful county championship stints that have benifited their career. The IPL has it's place, it's can spread the game, it's a bit of slogging fun but it is not top quality. Finally I would add, who are the current world T20 champions? - England, a team with few IPL players, who reached the semi's of that competition? - Pakistan, a team who's players are banned from the IPL and who went out before the knowckout stages? - India a team full of IPL players. Proof that the IPL does not contribute to world cricket, world cricket contributes to the IPL.

  • Comment number 72.

    Cricket remains at its how many countries is 4 day and test cricket actually viable against players pay aspirations?...look at the lack of crowds.

    I love watching test matches, and appreciate a 'beaten' side hanging on for a draw, but cricket might be at a 'Darwin moment'...evolve or die.

  • Comment number 73.

    AndyPlowright money dictates which form will survive. Just England and Australia playing the 5 day game is not going to spread the game. There is a reason why Cricket struggled to get more countries in to its fold. 1 day game did more to the game of cricket than what test cricket could not do. Only time will tell if T20 can do better. In the short span of T20’s existence it has exceeded all expectations. 5 day games were great for a different time. I am sure they are still great if people had the time to watch it. Except for the ashes all other test matches have lost viewers year over year. In fact in most test playing countries the one day game is providing the money to host a test game. As for the power shift in the game a bowler like Murlitharan would not have bowled or broken records. County cricket was great. It still may be. But why are they struggling and trying to reinvent themselves? Money changes things. My fellow Americans like their 8 cylinder cars, but the 4$ a gallon cost made them love a Toyota prius. Same is the case with test cricket!

  • Comment number 74.

    UCB comments number 48
    you keep writing about all the current cricket players like they are the worlds best but to be honest they are all rubish they dont know how to play the game they have know talent left, if by luck they play good they get so big headed that the following game they lose because they think they know it all just take a look at this world cup it was a disgrace england played with no pride. the best teams out there are pakistan, india, sri lanka, australia oh and ireleland lol. so pls stop boasting england cos theres nothing left of them.

  • Comment number 75.

    Personally speaking it's simple; either you play county cricket or IPL, but not both. IPL has it's place but is a made-for-TV competition.
    I do worry for county cricket in this country - there just isn't the interest from the general public enabling the counties to make any money - and I'm not sure what the solution is. The ECB need to be more proactive in promoting the game, especially the County Championship - start it later in the summer, so people finidhing work can watch the final session. Is this being looked at?

  • Comment number 76.

    If asked to choose between County Cricket and IPL:

    County Cricket:

    Play in virtually empty stadiums
    Play with mainly english crickters (not the best ones)
    Play against similar bowlers
    Earn peanuts for a profressional sportsmen


    Healthy crowds
    Amazing atmosphere
    Earn good money
    Test yourself against some of the best bowlers in the world
    Learn from some of the worlds best coaches

    Why did India win the world cup? Why is India the number 1 test team in the world? Why are we producing some of the best young talent: Raina, Kohli, Sharma....

    I think the IPL has improved Indian cricketers and it's proven with the change in the Indian side over the last few years!

    In the format England are at there strongest test cricket, which country cricket influences. Why are they not the number test team in the world? You cant say winning the ashes makes England a good side. Did anyone see the Australian side in the last ashes?

    It's a shame we dont see players such as Anderson, Broad, Strauss, Bopara participate in the IPL. But I am not sure they would make the teams even if brought.

    I feel if Enlish Cricket doesn't allow itself to get involved I see them bringing about there own downfall.

    P.S: "IPL only big in India" in reply County Cricket not even big in England never mind thinking internationally, lol.

  • Comment number 77.

    I say don't worry about it is players want to play in IPL they will. If they want to play in the County Championship they will as well. It's up to individual counties to decide whether they want to enter in contracts with players who will unavailable for a period of time due to commitments elsewhere.

    Somerset for instance have contracts with Pollard and Kartik both of whom won't be available for the first part of the season. They have to decide whether that financially viable and if it makes the most sense from their campaign perspective.

    What needs to be done is sorting out the structuring of the season T20 and CB40 need to take precedence in the schedule over the County Championship. They bring in the money to fund that competition which develops the players far more than T20 or CB40 ever will. The CC games should be played during the week with the big money spinners at the weekends and Friday evenings.

    T20 is like it was when I played it as kid Cricket for beginners but it's also ALOT of fun. It should take precedence to make it easy for people interested to start watching, they then might start watching some CB40 games when they have a chance to see what the fuss is about. They then will start following CC and Test matches and really start to love the pinnacle of the game.

    What needs to be accepted is the atmosphere at a CC game is fairly lackluster and unless it's a big game you unlikely to get one. CC cricket is interesting but your not going to give up half your week to watch a game unless something is on the line and it rarely is until towards the end of the season. This doesn't means they should stop playing but they should stop playing early to mid season game on weekends at the expense of the other formats which would get the punters in!

  • Comment number 78.

    @ Mark Mitchener - BBC Sport

    Mark, I almost guarantee if Mike Atherton was still playing, he would have found different arguments to prove IPL was the best thing happened to man. It is funny how all retired cricketers are saying no to IPL as they seem to have missed the boat...

    Sorry Mike, but look at all those football greats who never had a chance to share in the premiership footballer in the first division makes more than pele did (inflation adjusted)...

  • Comment number 79.

    The IPL's standard is on par with county cricket.

    If players want to tire themselves out playing it, that is up to them. I don't see why we should punish people for wanting to play in it, and with competition in the England side hotting up all the time, if they want to open the door for someone to come into their place, that is up to them.

  • Comment number 80.


    England haven't lost a test series in 2 years! The reason why they aren't ranked number one is India have performed better in the current ranking period of 3 years 8 months.

    India aren't a better side because of IPL most their class players were class WAY before the IPL's inception, they are a better side for playing the long format of the game in their own country and others.

    You don't get better at playing a game which required you to play for 400 overs in a game where you play a tenth of that for 6 weeks!

  • Comment number 81.

    Why are folks even comparing IPL to International Test, ODIs standards or even County Cricket (minus Pro 40 or whatever the 20/20 format is called)? These are different formats and the standard is the natural output of it. Just like you cannot compare standard of ODI to Test, different ball game really.

    Yes, IPL standard = 20/20 International standard, and that should be the benchmark for comparison. Compare IPL to English equivalent of Twenty/20, you get the idea...

    20/20 is meant to be played in a certain way, and that's exactly how its done in IPL.

  • Comment number 82.

    County cricket had its time, gone are the days when any Indian cricketers playing for a county side is highly regarded.
    Its modern era and T-20/IPL is the way forward..
    Same cricket but with lot spices and action to make it more interesting rather than a bland 50/5day cricket with atleast 50-60% of the matches are one sided and less attractive.
    I would rather say if a overseas player is selected for IPL he should be considered a good quality player otherwise no clubs would pay such a huge money to sign them.

  • Comment number 83.

    Raj20, while you depressingly are correct about the woes of county cricket, you are hugely overstating the quality of the IPL. Otherwise, India would be T20 world champions right now, wouldn't they? England knocked them out in 2009, and I can't remember what happened in 2010, but it wasn't special

    County Cricket in its current format as a spectator sport cannot survive, more and more counties will go to the wall. Radical changes would be required to get spectators through the door again. I think there are far too many games where the outcome of the match doesn't matter too much cos there's plenty of time to make up for it.

    If fixtures were kept to the weekend, if the ticket prices were cheaper, maybe something can happen. County championship games, nobody's gonna give up 4 days to watch one unless they're retired, so playing these games at big grounds is pretty pointless.

  • Comment number 84.

    DLF Maximum = a Six
    Citi Bank Moment of Success = a Wicket
    Max Mobile Time Out = Drinks break
    Yahoooooo (at 2000 decibels) = Come on crowd cheer for your team
    Karbon Kamaal Catch = Good catch

    Colour of the jersey of the Kochi Tuskers team, left me speechless! IPL will change the way cricket is played, watched, worn, spoken, viewed!

  • Comment number 85.

    @ Kapnag

    Quality of IPL doesnt guarantee success at world stage. Not sure how much sports you watch - but premier league/England football team's performance are best comparators...

  • Comment number 86.

    @ ncurd:

    Not doubting England as a test nation. But IPL allows Indian cricketers the platform to test themselves against the best even if it's only for 20 overs. Is there anyone like Malinga or Steyn in county cricket?

    It has improved Indian cricket. In my opinion it has done a lot of good than bad for India as a cricketing nation.

    To add: Kohli, Sharma, Raina, Ashwin all shone at IPL and that was a factor of why they got into the national team.

    With India being world champions it's just proof in the pudding.

    Not a hater of county cricket but I think an English cricketer would benefit more from the IPL rather than county cricket.

    @ Kapnag

    India were the first world t20 champions. Current 50 over champions and test ranked team number 1.

    IPL has benefited Indian cricket especially in producing young talent whom have contributed to the success in the last 4 years.

    I want to emphasise India success isn't just down to the IPL. Great coach, captain and senior players are a major part. At the end of the day if the ECB remains to operate the way it does I see the game going more down then up in England. I hope the national side doesn't go that way.

  • Comment number 87.

    The Indian world cup win was before IPL. The IPL has provided players a league focused on this form of the game, but as the years go on the pinch hitters are thinning out, and the guys with quality in all other formats of the game have taken up their familiar positions.

    I think the ipl has changed the games of the best players in the world to make scores like 300 now seem like par, and gives young players a window of opportunity into international cricket, but the standard still lies firmly with the longer form of the game, and I think county cricket is producing a lot of good players making big contributions at international level.

    So for me it's experience gained in the IPL of transferring skills from the longer formats.

  • Comment number 88.

    'With India being world champions it's just proof in the pudding.' India's WC win had very little to do with the IPL. The only players in the squad picked solely for their IPL performances were arguably Yusuf Pathan, who eventually couldn't be trusted in the knock out matches.

    As for Raina, Kohli and Ashwin- check their international and domestic records. Ashwin is the one that arguably gained the most from the IPL but he had a fine Ranji trophy and 50over record record that initially got him into the selectors sights.

    How on earth would a 6 week T20 tournament be a better experience then a tough long season on a variety of pitches in County cricket be? Read Zaheer Khans interview on how his Worcestershire season transformed his international form. There is no way that kind of transformation could happen in any T20 tournament, whether its the IPL or Big Bash or whatever.

    Fact is that for a cricketer to develop he has to play the long form of the game to hone his skills. Playing a 6 week tournament instead of County season would be longer term career suicide.

    Like I said earlier, the IPL is great for discovering the odd domestic indian player,and increasing the fan base to casual, celeb spotting fans, great if it grows the game.

    I am an India cricket fan, and I can see why some India fans are hugely excited at the prospect of top players all coming to India to play a T20 tournament. However, jingoism does seems to creep in whenever anyone suggests the perhaps T20 isen't the pinnacle of the sport whatever the tournament. Saying the IPL is 'better' then any other league or tournament because it's richer is a fallacy as well. County cricket needs a financial boost no doubt but that doesn't make it any less worthy. Fact is that the countries that have won the World T20 did so through little or no IPL involvement.England for example

    For me there are far more important issues facing cricket- like the exclusion of the Associates from the next 50 Over WC. The ICC seems hellbent on keeping world cricket a private members club.

  • Comment number 89.

    Malinga, well nobody bowls like him in the world in terms of action (and nobody else probably ever will), you almost have to specialise against him only so while useful he doesn't actually teach you anything (especially if you only face him for four overs).

    Steyn well their are plenty of fast bowlers admittedly not on his level but then few are. He has had a couple of stints at county cricket but hasn't played since the Inception of IPL. The reasons behind that are likely the payday and the fact hes now established in the South African side.

    The county championship is a place to craft and hone your skills for international cricket. A place to go to when you are out of form or looking to try and break into the international side. Possibly somewhere to create your career as you aren't quite good enough at full-international level.

    The IPL is place to go to once your established (unless you a homegrown player)and earn the payday. It isn't a place to develop I admit I don't know the BCCI structure but does any money from IPL go into it? I'd be worrying about that if I was Indian Cricket as that's where your test players are going to come from..

  • Comment number 90.

    84. At 17:44pm 18th Apr 2011, BhavdeepVirdee wrote:

    DLF Maximum = a Six
    Citi Bank Moment of Success = a Wicket
    Max Mobile Time Out = Drinks break
    Yahoooooo (at 2000 decibels) = Come on crowd cheer for your team
    Karbon Kamaal Catch = Good catch
    Does that mean that DFL, CitiBank, Max Mobile, Yahooooooo and Karbon Mobile are now going to sponsor all world cricket or just that these inane catch phrases are to remain confined to the IPL?

    88. At 20:39pm 18th Apr 2011, NeilM wrote
    For me there are far more important issues facing cricket- like the exclusion of the Associates from the next 50 Over WC. The ICC seems hellbent on keeping world cricket a private members club.

    Now there is a comment from a real cricket fan! Unless it is prepared to grow and serve the needs of all the nations big, small good, bad and indifferent that play the game I fear that it will become even more marginalised on the global stage.

    Football through teams like Man Utd, Inter Milan etc are already gathering large fanbases in India and China and the US so unless cricket expands it audience outside of its core markets at some point in the next 10 - 20 years it may wake up and find that even its most loyal and fervent supporters in the Indian sub-continent have deserted it.

  • Comment number 91.

    Thanks Jonah and good point. For growing the game T20 would be an excellent vehicle to expand it. There are countries such as Ireland and to an extent Holland that with the right support could be very competitive on a regular basis in 50 over cricket. The potential of Afghanistan as well is obvious.

    Sadly I am pessimistic on the administration of the world game. The ICC is far too short-termist and money-driven to have the foresight to put long-term plans in to expand the game and make it a truly world sport.

  • Comment number 92.

    you don't know how true you are there Neil for proof that T20 is the way to bring nations into the cricket family quickly you only have to look at competitions like this

    But T20 should only be seen as a vehicle to allow the sport to gain momentum and a more global following all nations should be encouraged to use T20 to expand their game into the longer more technically challenging formats and not as the pinnacle of their ambition which is where I see the ICC driving the game today.

  • Comment number 93.

    Keep arguing. Some people on this forum will make careers out of stating the obvious. Cheerleaders, sexy anchors, the jerseys, the merchandising, the marketing and T20 format. Of course, IPL is unabashedly a profit venture. And one of the greatest successes of professional sports. To get the big bucks you need big names and great quality cricket. And IPL doesnt claim to be the bedrock on which cricket should lay its foundations!! Thats silly...go and do your own work. cricket boards of the world!! They promise entertaining cricket. And believe me , it takes great bowling to win with the Dhonis and de Villiers ready to smash you for a maximum right from ball one. If you're not good enuff, you wont survive. It helps that India are the world Champions and the highest ranked Test team. But, Indians pretty much like to watch Indian players play. Indian crowds are great supporters of the games INDIA play. Its an open secret, and they dont care. And the world is ready to accept that. regional rivalries are fierce in India. So even if the other boards force their players to play for queen and country only, I would be very surprised the crowds will miss them. And you will ALWAYS have the newly retired and new kids on the block from all around the world. The Warnes, Gilchrists, Eoin Morgans, so on....
    Mr Howell did you know that ICC is considering a window in the cricket schedule to accomodate the IPL to circumvent this problem?( cricket IS taking a stand, FOR the IPL it would seem- and yes guys, BCCI bullies the ICC, so there you go) End of the day, GBP 3 million average per player per year ( Annual Review of Global Sports Salaries,2010) will stand up for itself. I still remember the picture of a beaming Giles Clarke, Beefy and Sir Viv, with Allen Stanford and all that dodgy cash. The ECB cracking the whip? Well, maybe against Irish Cricket. You can bully those guys. With your pals, Cricket Australia and BCCI.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    I must laugh at English hypocrisy. Its ok for them to import players from SA, Ireland etc. for their national teams but they cringe if their own players want to play in a foreign private league.

  • Comment number 96.

    Its always hilarious to hear deluded English fans big up county cricket. A system which has not produced a single batting great in last 50 yrs and not a single great bowler since Trueman or Laker. The arrogance of some English posters is baffling considering how most of times English side is lurking as an average team who everyone used to tramp around. Now with some imports they have a decent team and suddenly the massive chip on shoulder is coming out.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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