When Kerry Packer was signing up the top players from around the world for his rebel cricket series in the 1970s, Sunil Gavaskar, then India's leading batsman, gave it some thought. What convinced him to turn his back on Packer was the likelihood of never playing for India again. He was 28, at the height of his powers as an all-time great.
Following Kevin Pietersen's decision to retire from the 50-over game, there is no threat of his not playing for England again unless his cricket board gets vindictive. To most people, Pietersen's decision seems to be a prelude to playing the various domestic T20 tournaments around the world; these are short, less demanding and above all, lucrative. Chris Gayle has shown how much more you can make from the game with much less effort; he is the most widely-travelled T20 exponent, with home grounds in four continents.
The Gayles and the Pietersens (assuming what everybody is guessing at comes to pass) will cop much criticism. There will be talk of putting club before country, money before honour and all those moral cliches that are rolled out on these occasions.