ECB’s director of cricket Ashley Giles asserted that English players playing in international matches will be priority, and added that there are no guarantees that they will turn up for the second half of IPL 2021. As things stand, there are rumors that the IPL will be completed in September.
It was only two months ago that the ECB revealed that they were keen to let their players be involved in the Indian Premier League, as they believed, it will not only give the players an opportunity to deservedly earn big chunks of money, but also help them prepare for the WT20. Several multi-format players were rested across the subcontinent stretch and all players who were completely fit were made available for the entirety of IPL 2021.
However, such freedom won’t be lent in four months' time as ECB’s director of cricket Ashley Giles has claimed that England players might not partake in the second half of IPL 2021, should be it rescheduled later in the year. England, as things stand, are scheduled to tour Pakistan and Bangladesh in the latter half of the year, and Giles asserted that it will be the board’s priority to ensure that all players are fit and available for international duty.
"We're planning on the involvement of England players in England matches. We've got a full FTP schedule. So if those tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh [in September and October] are going ahead, I'd expect the players to be there,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted Giles as saying.
"The New Zealand scenario was very different. Those Test matches were formalised at the end of January, by which time all those contracts and NOCs [no objection certificates] were signed for full involvement in the IPL.
"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."
The COVID-19 situation in the UK is improving by the passing day, but the England players will still be required to play all matches in the summer inside secure bubbles. The Three Lions are scheduled to play New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the next 4 months, and Giles hoped for the players to be allowed a bit more freedom.
"We think it's probably unreasonable to expect that our players could be in bubbles all summer. We want to keep them in safe environments, obviously. But we are really aware of the importance for these guys, their time with loved ones, families in particular. That's the balance we are trying to strike.
"We are hopeful this year that as we see society move a certain way, that we can move with it. It could be the case that we may start tighter, as society is right now, and look to release, as everything else does."
The inaugural edition of The Hundred is set to kick-off in two months’ time, but there is a good chance that owing to fixture overlapping, a vast majority of the international English players might miss the competition. Giles hoped for the international stars to get involved in The Hundred at some stage, but added that it would also be imperative to manage their workload.
"We'd love them to be involved in the Hundred at some point and the launch of that competition. It would be great to have our best players playing in it.
"But we'll have to look at workloads very carefully. We've got a lot of cricket coming up so it's a difficult juggling act but I know the players are also looking forward to that tournament and would love to be involved at some stage if they can."