Thursday, December 2News That Matters

England stars told they must put country first if re-arranged IPL season clashes with matches

England’s top cricketers have been told they must put country first rather than play in the re-arranged Indian Premier League.

Ashley Giles, the team director, has made it clear he will expect centrally-contracted players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer to give up their huge IPL pay-cheques if the resumption of the richest event in cricket clashes with England matches.

The IPL was postponed earlier this month when the bio-secure bubbles protecting the players in Covid-ravaged India were breached, leaving 31 matches unplayed.

England stars such as Ben Stokes could be forced to miss out on the resumption of the IPL

England stars such as Ben Stokes could be forced to miss out on the resumption of the IPL

England stars such as Ben Stokes could be forced to miss out on the resumption of the IPL

Ashley Giles  has made it clear he he expects centrally-contracted to put their country first

Ashley Giles  has made it clear he he expects centrally-contracted to put their country first

Ashley Giles  has made it clear he he expects centrally-contracted to put their country first

Sourav Ganguly, president of the Indian board, on Monday ruled out any resumption in India but, as first reported by Sportsmail, the tournament is expected to be moved to the United Arab Emirates in late September ahead of October’s Twenty20 World Cup.

There also remains the possibility of completing the IPL in England after the five-Test series against India finishes in mid-September, with Surrey, Warwickshire and MCC among those keen to stage IPL matches.

Both options would clash with England’s white-ball tour of Bangladesh and their return to Pakistan for the first time in 16 years for a short goodwill T20 trip – if Covid allows those pre-World Cup matches to go ahead.

And Giles is adamant there will be no repeat of the original deal he struck with his multi-format players, allowing them to play in the whole of this year’s IPL, even if it meant missing the hastily arranged two-Test series against New Zealand next month.

Jos Buttler and Co could miss out on substantial wages if the re-arranged season clashes

Jos Buttler and Co could miss out on substantial wages if the re-arranged season clashes

Jos Buttler and Co could miss out on substantial wages if the re-arranged season clashes 

‘If those tours go ahead I’d expect our players to be there,’ said Giles on Monday of the Bangladesh and Pakistan trips. ‘None of us knows yet what a rearranged IPL will look like and where it will be but our Future Tours Programme is incredibly busy.

‘We do intend to look after our players but we’ve got a lot of high-profile cricket ahead of us this year, including a T20 World Cup and the Ashes, and we’re planning on the involvement of England players in England matches.’

The former England spinner and white-ball coach also defended the ECB’s failure to bring their players back from the IPL ahead of the postponement as the Covid crisis in India deepened, even though England were quick to abandon their white-ball tour of South Africa before Christmas.

‘The guys are all grown-ups and had signed their contracts,’ added Giles. ‘Our position was to advise and keep communicating with them but we didn’t feel it was up to us to pull them out of that scenario.’