Lure of the IPL Riches: Club vs Country Debate Now in Cricket

Ankit MunjalCorrespondent IApril 22, 2011

Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle

So at a time when Pakistan is touring the West Indies, we have Chris Gayle, arguably the home teams best batsman, putting up a batting masterclass in Bangalore. He destroyed the Kolkata bowling attack with a brutal century, showing just what the West Indies public is missing out on.

At the same time we have news that the Sri Lankan team will be heading on a tour of England with 7 of their 16 man squad still plying their trade in India. This after the SLC had to take back their ultimatum given to its players to return back on the 5th of May. 

We also have Lasith Malinga announcing his retirement from test match cricket, though not for a second do I doubt his injuries are the main reason behind his decision. One can't help but wonder if the opportunity to make quick money in the IPL helped make that decision easier.

With many more domestic tournaments springing up in other countries and bringing with them more such opportunities for players,we can expect more players considering the merits of playing for club or country.

What we need to realise is that on average a players career spans from 10-15 years and possibly less for fast bowlers. So before we judge their decisions, we must try and understand their possible reasons.

We should understand that for many of these players it makes sense financially for them to miss an international tour in favour of playing for their IPL team or give up playing Test matches so as to prolong their career playing the less demanding T20 format.

We need to realise that these players stand to make considerably more money for doing something less demanding by turning out in the IPL, and it would almost be considered crazy for one to turn that kind of money down in any other line of work.

The world of cricket desperately needs to find space for these tournaments in the international calender, just like FIFA provides international breaks throughout the season allowing players to leave their clubs for international duty, though in cricket the role is sort of reversed where the countries need to allow their players to play for their clubs.

In this current situation I see only International cricket being the loser with them having to field considerably weakened teams.

The lure of the IPL riches is far too great for players not earning millions from endorsements and this situation needs the ICC to wake up and find a solution fast, or else we will see more and more freelance players like Gayle, Pollard, Symonds and Flintoff.

Lets hope till such time as the ICC doesn't find a solution, we fans don't hate the cricketers who choose to play for club over country and understand their situation and that they too need to make their life as comfortable as possible given their short career span.