IPL or international cricket – what’s the priority?

Kane Williamson could miss part of an upcoming Test series due to IPL commitments. Image: cricket.com.au

The 2021 Indian Premier League auction has yet again generated discussion surrounding the availability and priorities of international cricketers.

As a clash looms between the end of the IPL season and an upcoming Test series between England and New Zealand, the nature of the IPL contracts and the power that the tournament has over the international cricket landscape has again been thrust into the spotlight.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is one of a handful of players who could potentially miss the Test series due to IPL commitments, though many have been left wondering why it’s not the other way around.

Jono Baruch, James Strebinos, and Will Cuckson discussed the issue on episode 11 of the Over and Stumps podcast. A cricket podcast on The Inner Sanctum network.

“It shouldn’t get to this,” Baruch said.

“If you’re called in for national duty, your national contract [should] overrule your IPL contract.

“We’re talking about a captain of a nation potentially missing a Test match. Should we be worried… as a world game moving forward?”

While some players continue to make a healthy living off the domestic Twenty20 circuit, players always say that playing for their country, particularly the big series is always their top priority.

“You play cricket to play for your country,” Strebinos said in agreeance.

“If you have that privilege of playing in Australia’s XI or New Zealand’s XI, that should be the priority.”

The Big Bash League for a long time has experienced talent drains and player departures and players only playing a portion of the tournament due to national commitments abroad.

Dan Lawrence most recently concluded his duties with the Brisbane Heat early in the BBL season after being selected in the England test squad, while Jason Holder and Colin Ingram also departed their respective clubs due to other domestic commitments. 

Alex Carey and Jack Wildermuth were just two of a handful of Australian players to miss a portion of the season due to Australia A responsibilities.

“The BBL has been faced with this issue for a long time, so why should the IPL be any different?” Cuckson asked.

“At all costs, international cricket and representing your country has to take precedence over earning the riches in the IPL.

“If you have a national contract… especially if you’re someone as important as Kane Williamson, you should [be playing] for your country when they’re playing.”

The 2-Test series between England and New Zealand is currently scheduled to begin on June 2, culminating in the final of the World Test Championship on June 18. The IPL fixture has not yet been released but is expected to conclude in early June.

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