London: The Ashes debacle could have repercussions for England cricketers playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) reportedly planning to limit their involvement in the lucrative tournament.
Several England cricketers, including their top batters such as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali, and all-rounders Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, were rested for the country’s two-Test series against New Zealand because of their involvement in the IPL. England lost the two-Test series to the Blackcaps 0-1 in 2021.
A report in The Mirror quoting Times on Wednesday said that the ECB is conducting a thorough review of the Ashes loss, with managing director Ashley Giles preparing a list of recommendations to improve the “Test team’s fortunes”.
England are 0-3 down in the five-Test Ashes in Australia, with the tourists losing the Brisbane, Adelaide and MCG Tests by nine wickets, 275 runs and an innings and 14 runs respectively. England’s last-wicket pair of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad miraculously managed to draw the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The fifth and final Test of the series begins at the Blundstone Arena in Hobart on January 14.
The reports said that the ECB was planning to restricting the cricketers’ involvement in the IPL to “just the first few weeks”. The ECB is concerned that IPL will be of longer duration from this year onwards as two more teams have been added to the tournament, taking the number to 10.
This year the IPL will likely overlap with the England’s Test summer, with the knockout stages “likely to clash with their first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s in early June”, the report said.
So far, only Buttler (Rajasthan Royals) and Moeen (Chennai Super Kings) have been retained by their respective franchises for the 2022 edition, but several England Test players’ names will figure in the IPL mega auction next month, given that two new franchises are entering the tournament.
The report said that England players signed in the auction will be asked to “cut short their time in the IPL so that they can play some first-class cricket before the New Zealand series begins”.
Former England skipper Michael Atherton has been a vocal critic of the ECB for allowing players to play in the IPL at the expense of national duty.
“The leading multi-format players are paid seven-figure sums, but, incredibly, the ECB washes its hands of them for two months of the year during the Indian Premier League,” he wrote in the Times.
“The players should be told that, while the ECB will be accommodating of the request to play in IPL, a 12-month contract is exactly that, and the granting of a no-objection certificate to play in IPL and other franchised competitions is contingent on it being in the best interests of the England team. Players should not miss international duty to play in the IPL, nor be rested and rotated to allow them to play elsewhere.”