IPL reignites country or club debate
NEW DELHI, April 16 (AFP) - A Sri Lanka Cricket Board demanded that
national players involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) return to
prepare for an England tour has reopened the long-running club versus
Eleven Sri Lankan cricketers are playing in the money-spinning IPL,
including Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is likely to lead Sri Lanka in
England with Kumar Sangakkara having resigned the captaincy after the
Dilshan plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchise along
with fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep; Sangakkara is the skipper of Deccan
Chargers and Mahela Jayawardene leads new team Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The players have been asked to return to Sri Lanka by May 5, more
than three weeks before the IPL ends.
Asked if they would abandon their respective franchise teams just as
the tournament approaches its climax, Sangakkara was non-committal.
"It is up to the Indian board and Sri Lanka Cricket to negotiate on
the date of our return," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"What we as players can do is to abide by the decision of our board."
The lure of easy money on offer in the Twenty20 competition where one
needs to play a maximum of 15 games over six weeks has always tested the
loyalty of players.
Australian Michael Clarke pulled out of the IPL in 2008, saying he
wanted to focus on managing his workload and national commitments.
West Indies' Chris Gayle caused a furore when he arrived in England
only two days before the first Test at Lord's as he was busy playing in
the 2009 edition of the IPL, hosted by South Africa.
"We are all different and it's about who can adapt as quickly as
possible and be ready physically and mentally," Gayle said at the time.
For the current tournament, explosive West Indies batsman Kieron
Pollard chose to play for Mumbai Indians, owned by India's billionaire
business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, and miss a series of home one-dayers
New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori said the players could be spared
the conundrum if an IPL window was provided in the international
"Most of the players would like for a window for the IPL," said
Vettori, captain of Bangalore franchise. "A majority of the players
understand that the country comes first.
"We would like to find a balance between playing for the country and
playing for our franchises, so that no one misses the IPL and no one
misses international cricket."
Flamboyant England batsman Kevin Pietersen has always made known his
love for the IPL and admitted feeling gutted at missing this year's
tournament due to an injury. "I'm bitterly disappointed," said the South
Pietersen was the tournament's most expensive player two years ago
when he was snapped up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.55 million
and was due to earn around $650,000 playing for Deccan Chargers this