England’s cricketers might be setting precedent for other international cricketers around the world.
England’s elite players stand to have more of a say in the management of their workloads under proposals that are being drawn up by the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) ahead of the redrafting of central contracts next year.
If PCA proposals are accepted, England would shift slightly towards the sort of squad system that has become an accepted part of Premier League football, as the most senior and successful players such as Kevin Pietersen were given more licence to miss matches regarded as less important.
Angus Porter, chief executive of the PCA, facilitated unsuccessful negotiations last week between Pietersen and his representatives and Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, which failed to end the stand-off which has led to Pietersen’s premature retirement from all England limited-overs cricket.
Pietersen wanted rest from more one-day matches and also proposed missing at least one of England’s May Tests to enable him to play a full IPL season.
Porter remained adamant that a more formalised rotation system was essential if England’s top players are to maximise their time in the game. The current three-year agreement expires in autumn 2013 and the PCA and ECB are anxious to draw up a new deal before next summer’s Ashes series.
“This is an issue we need to get to grips with and one that we will be discussing in the next central contracts negotiation,” Porter said.
“We all recognise that with a really hectic schedule managing workloads is important particularly for senior players who have played the longest and who play in all formats of the game.
“We need to find a way to provide a little bit more structure to what is already happening – to develop England cricket as a squad game where you not only try to win every game but you try to keep the talent fresh and at the top as long as possible.”
What central contracts could not resolve, said Porter, was the ECB’s uneasy relationship towards Indian Premier League.
“I do think the ECB and the other boards have to grasp that nettle, accept the IPL exists and identify a window for it so we do not always have to manage the consequences of an event which without constraint will continue to grow and move around the schedule. It shouldn’t be the most difficult thing in the world.
“IPL is this dirty great big thing that is not fixed in time and space in the FTP and until or unless the Boards and the ICC get to grips with it, accept that it is here to stay and identify a window of a sensible length for it, it is impossible for any of us to plan.” (Cricinfo)
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