T20 a threat to international cricket: Survey

A survey of English cricketers reveals many would prefer retiring from international cricket to play in cash-rich T20 leagues.

updated: June 26, 2008 16:11 IST
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Many of England players, who missed the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, are ready to consider premature retirement from international cricket to play in the cash-rich Twenty20 competition, according to a survey conducted by the Professional Cricketers Association.

According to the BBC Sports, a total of 334 cricketers, including 15 who represented England last winter, were questioned before the 2008 season and around half of the England stars said they would consider "retiring prematurely" for the IPL money.

"It is clear the new monies since the Indian leagues have unbalanced the cricketing landscape. It seems unlikely that any other competition around the cricketing world could put as much money on the table and create a competition of equal proportions in the near future," the PCA said.

"And therefore IPL will remain a threat, a force and an opportunity to the cricketing world for some time to come," it was quoted as saying by the BBC.

The survey, made public on Monday, was carried out before the recent announcement of a 50m series between England and a West Indies XI, backed by billionaire Sir Allen Stanford.

But the Stanford plan would not preclude England players from also pursuing IPL contracts, whenever their international commitments and county permit.

The survey also revealed that 45 per cent players would consider signing up for the ICL, even though it could result in a 12-month ban from county cricket, and 89 per cent believe "freedom of movement should prevail in regard to Indian cricket leagues".

However, 56 per cent agreed with the statement that "Twenty20 and its growing popularity threaten other forms of the game".

The PCA also expressed concerns about Twenty20 domination of cricket in its report which forms the background for the survey results.

"The current imbalance between remuneration for Twenty20 cricket and the longer forms of the game does present a very real threat to the existing fabric of the game," the report states.

"The financial rewards offered by the Indian leagues will entice players to retire early from county and international cricket - and senior players at that. The impact on the strength of our international sides would be huge.

"This would have the potential to significantly devalue our TV rights as well as reducing the attraction of English cricket to the fans."

The PCA recommends a gap in the international cricket schedule in March and April to prevent England players having to choose between their country and the financial attractions of the sub-continent.

The Twenty20 game, when it started out to be a bit of a fun is now going way over the top with "money" being the be all end all of everything.