England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles has hinted towards the unlikelihood of the participation of England players in the rescheduled IPL matches.
Earlier, BCCI pigeonholed the remaining matches of IPL 2021 after several players tested positive for COVID-19. Some players even retracted their names from the tournament Given the escalating cases of COVID-19 cases in India and the severity of the situation of the pandemic. The board has however confirmed that it is not going to host the tournament in India this time around.
Since the BCCI has shelved the tournament indefinitely, ECB has decided to keep their players committed to their international assignments. England has a busy calendar this year, the most recent one being the all-format series against India beginning next month. The men’s team is also set to play two Tests against New Zealand next month. Apart from these engagements, there is the Ashes as well as the T20 World Cup ahead to prepare for and the board is in no mood to hamper the preparation and player availability for the commitments due to the rescheduled IPL.
“I have mentioned to the players a couple of times, we will make difficult decisions on their workloads and wellbeing,” Ashley Giles said. “We’re planning on the involvement of England players in England matches. We’ve got a full Future Tours Programme, if those tours [to Bangladesh and Pakistan] are going ahead, I’d expect them to be there.”
Previously, ECB had faced a major setback and attracted a lot of criticism for their decision to give No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to their players for featuring in IPL 2021. They rested some of their important players to allow them to play in IPL. Resultantly, they lost all of the three series against India held in February and March.
Due to the NOCs for IPL, several players were also set to miss the New Zealand series to be held in June. However, ECB is not ready to repeat the same mistake, as implied by Giles.
Uncertain IPL schedule not favourable for busy England
With the IPL now held in abeyance, Ashley Giles says that they cannot let the tournament get in the way of their busy schedule that includes a packed international commitment. “None of us knows what a rearranged IPL looks like at the moment; where it’s going to be or when. But from when we start this summer against New Zealand, our programme is incredibly busy. We’ve got a lot of important, high-profile cricket including the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. And we’re going to have to look after our players,” he clarified.
ECB is putting the health and well-being of the players on the top of their priority list and according to Giles, it is among the primary reasons for their decision regarding the players. However, he clarified that it was not their reason for pulling out their names from the tournament initially. “I don’t mean that we weren’t talking about it or thinking about it on a daily basis almost every hour that we were awake because that situation was changing a lot,” he added.
“I thought our position was to advise and keep communicating with the guys and give them the latest information that was available to us, which they probably had on the ground as well. But these guys are all grown-ups and they signed these contracts. Their relationships were with the franchises. But, of course underlying that, absolutely their welfare and their health is very important to us. But we didn’t really feel it was for us to pull them out of that scenario and probably they were the best judge on the ground. They were in it.”