No permanent slot for IPL in international calendar : ICC

The Indian Premier League will not be given a permanent slot in the international cricket calendar, the ICC said on Tuesday. 

Many top cricketers had to sit out of IPL due to their national commitments, which has prompted calls for granting the cash-rich Twenty20 event a permanent window in the ICC calendar.

But the game’s governing body is not considering any such proposal at the moment.

“No we are not considering giving a window to IPL. Mr Lalit Modi (IPL commissioner) has frequently said that a window for IPL is not appropriate and I agree with him,” ICC President David Morgan said in a telephonic interview from London.

Asked whether this could lead to players opting out of bilateral tours to take part in the IPL, Morgan said it would only happen in the case of those on the brink of retirement.

“I think some cricketers who are coming to the end of their career will opt to play in domestic leagues like IPL. But I believe established international cricketers will want to play international cricket,” he said.

The Twenty20 boom has cast a shadow on the future of Test cricket, which was in any case losing popularity with spectators.

Morgan said ICC has plans to revitalise the longest version of the sport and reducing Test matches to four days was one of the options.

“I believe that Test cricket is very interesting product but there have been some matches that have been played in front of very poor crowd. The matches have been draws almost from day two forward and that is often due to the pitch not giving a fair balance between ball and bat,” he said.

“But having said that, there has been some great Test matches in recent times. They have been played over four or five days. The Ashes Test in Birmingham was one of the greatest of all times and that finished in three days and one session.

“We look at Test cricket as prime product and we look at the possibility of four days rather than five. We concern ourselves with quality of pitches and also overrate, because we have to be ever conscious of the need of the paying public,” he added.

Asked whether the ICC would consider a two-tier structure for Tests, Morgan said such a system was already in place.

“To some extent, that happens currently, doesn’t it? Because in a six-year cycle, some nations play each other home-and-away every four years as opposed to six years. They play five-match Test match series as opposed to three-match Test series. So there already is an element of stronger teams playing each other more frequently,” he said.

Morgan did not foresee any such threat to One-day cricket, which he said was the cash-provider for the other formats.

“The 50-overs game has been the cash-provider for other forms of cricket over a long period of time and I believe there is a continuing future for 50-over cricket. We have introduced the batting powerplays and I believe that is a quite bold change and that would definitely add interest to the game,” he said.

The ever-increasing cricket has raised concerns about the players’ fitness and whether they can cope with playing almost non-stop through the year.

Morgan said the it was upto the member boards to decide the quantity of matches.

“It’s not ICC which determines the volume of cricket, member boards do. But it’s important that players have time to practise, to rest and to recharge their batteries,” he said.

Players’ behaviour has also become a concern with some ugly on-field spats in the past few years but Morgan insisted that a bit of banter doesn’t harm anyone.

“I think players behaviour in the Twenty20 World Cup was fantastic. The games were played in wonderful spirit. I believe that cricketers at the highest level always want to have conversation and I don’t see any harm in that.

“But for us, spirit of cricket is very important. I think the players are increasingly more and more aware of the need to play the game in the right spirit,” he said.

“I also believe the referral system that is being rolled out will improve player behaviour,” he added.

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