Sri Lankan big hitter Kumar Sangakkara is against players choosing franchise competitions like the IPL over international cricket, but wants the ICC and member nations to strike a balance as both benefit the game. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) recently stated that it should not stop its players from participating in the upcoming IPL, even as the last matches of the lucrative T20 event clash with the opener of the Kiwis’ Test series in England , from June 2. Sangakkara, who directs cricket at Rajasthan Royals, was asked on Friday about the T20 competitions, the international match and the players who often have to make a difficult decision.
“It is almost clear that all contracts are under an international contract. An IPL contract is structured in such a way that the players need an NOC from their home boards to participate,” Sangakkara said during a virtual press conference.
“I am sure there is a balance that can be found. It can never be an ideal balance or a perfect balance, but there is the ability to balance it out so that the home boards and players benefit.”
He said that clashes between home boards and players participating in franchise competitions, which often require them to retire, could make international cricket a lot poorer.
“It is a constant debate that will take place as to what the ideal balance is. There has been discussion in the past as to whether there should be a window for the IPL in international cricket,” he said.
“It will be a conversation that will take place between the home boards and the IPL and within the home boards and maybe even with the ICC itself,” he said.
“It matters what your home board wants the players to do and it is the balance because having your best international players available to play international cricket for as long as possible is critical.
“We have seen that when there is an ongoing clash between players and home boards over franchise tournaments like the IPL, we have seen players retire early and that makes international cricket a lot poorer,” he added.
The IPL has helped players improve their skills, especially for the game’s shorter formats, according to Sangakkara, who has selected England, New Zealand and India as the top beneficiaries.
“We’ve seen England’s performance in the shorter version of the game over the years and New Zealand in terms of how their side has evolved since the arrival of IPL.
“Players taking part in it, we’ve seen the benefits for India. In the recent past, the team that beat Australia in the last Test, you can call that advantage across the board.
“In terms of preparing for a T20 World Cup, at this IPL, there are a lot of benefits to having your players play in it.”
Sangakkara, who has played 134 Tests and 404 ODIs during an illustrious career, was also asked about the debate surrounding the use of bouncer in competitive cricket. He clearly wanted it to remain part of the game.
“I’m not sure if removing bouncer from cricket will improve the spectacle or improve the safety of the players,” he said.
“I think it has been a critical part of the game – one that allows for a specific challenge between bowler and batsman,” he said.
“If you take it away, especially at junior level, when a player is making progress at an international level, he or she will have no idea how to handle short pitch bowling.
“It is a debate that has arisen after discussions about player and bouncer safety and it has been reduced from unlimited to two per more in Tests and one per more in T20s,” he added.
According to Sangakkara, the bumper (bouncer) adds a very exciting dynamic and also gives the fast bowlers an option in terms of how to make his other deliveries useful with the help of a bumper.
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