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12 April 2024

Prior says England may be forced into IPL review


England wicketkeeper Matt Prior warned Thursday of the prospect of rows between players and administrators unless the England and Wales Cricket Board softened its stance towards the Indian Premier League.

The lucrative domestic Twenty20 competition attracts players from all around the world.

However, the ECB will not allow any of their centrally-contracted England players to play longer than half a season in the Indian franchise tournament because of Test commitments.

Such a position means many England cricketers are not considered to be attractive targets in the big-money player auction that takes place before each edition of the IPL, with Prior 'unsold' for the past two years.

Star batsman Kevin Pietersen briefly called time on his England limited overs career last year after a refusal by team management to release him for the full duration of the IPL, although other factors were involved in a move that has since been rescinded.

Prior though, while having no personal issues with the ECB's position, foresees a time when the sums of money involved in the IPL could make it hard for English cricket chiefs to maintain their current stance.

"I know for a fact that players want to play in the IPL -- you can't get away from the fact that there is an enormous amount of money at stake," the 30-year-old Prior told BBC Sport.

"I'm employed by the ECB, so I do what the ECB says right now.

"If that's when the Test matches are, then that's when the Test matches are. My priority is playing Test cricket for England and when I am needed to play Test cricket for England I will play," the Sussex gloveman added.

"The one thing, however, is that the IPL and these Twenty20 competitions are not going away.

"People love them and the players enjoy playing in them, so there are going to be more and more people getting frustrated at the lack of opportunity to play in the IPL. So things may have to change in time."

The sixth IPL starts on April 3 and runs to May 26, a period that includes England's first Test at home to New Zealand starting on May 16.

At present, the only England players involved in the IPL are Pietersen and fellow batsman Eoin Morgan.

Prior, who has appeared in the Australian domestic Twenty20 Big Bash competition for the Sydney Thunder, said he feared the kudos attached to playing cricket might not always be enough to prevent players from around the world turning their back on the five-day game if the price was right.

"If you ask any Englishman or Australian, 'would you rather score a T20 hundred or an Ashes hundred?' I know which one most people would go with, but guys are going to start looking at it," he said.