IPL riches threaten to split England squad

Forget the notion that playing for England is the only thing that matters to Michael Vaughan and his side, a recent survey by the players union, the Professional Cricketers Association, has shown that 35 per cent of those picked to play Test and one-day cricket would consider retiring from the international game prematurely to sign up for the highly lucrative Indian Premier League.

The revelation will come as a major disappointment to the hundreds of thousands of cricket fans who continue to spend a small fortune supporting the national side both at home and abroad. They would like to believe that playing for England meant everything, but England's starting XI for the first Test against New Zealand on 15 May will undoubtably contain players who would rather be in Mumbai than Lord's.

The IPL, which began last week in Bangalore, has become the most talked about event in world cricket, with every player on the planet seemingly wanting to get a slice of the action. Many of those playing in India are earning a year's salary in six weeks, and England's professional cricketers want the ICC to create a window in their Future Tours Programme so they can cash in. The survey showed that nine players had been approached to play in the IPL and 27 offered deals to sign up for the Indian Cricket League, the unsanctioned competitor of the IPL.

Nearly every cricketer wants the option to play in India and the majority feel that what is taking place there has the potential to threaten other forms of the game. Seventy three per cent believe that the IPL will result in players attempting to specialise in that form of the game and 31 per cent think Test cricket will suffer.

Nobody can be 100 per cent sure of how successful the IPL will ultimately be and how it will affect the world game, and there are certain doubts as to how the tournament has been presented by the organisers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Recent observers in India have suggested that the $1 billion (£500m) television deal is reliant on the company doubling their commitment of $330m for the second five years of the contract. It has also been reported that television-viewing figures since the opening game have fallen below a benchmark figure and 60 per cent of those attending have been let in for free. Nothing is certain.

The findings of the PCA will not make pleasant reading for the England and Wales Cricket Board, who now look after their players extremely well, but the views of the players may change when the ECB announces a five-year plan in association with Sir Allen Stanford. It has the potential to turn them all in to millionaires.

Stanford is committed to a $150m deal with the ECB that will see the England side play five annual matches against a West Indies Stanford XI side in Antigua for a winner takes all prize of $20m. The Texan billionaire has also agreed to bankroll an annual five-year quadrangular tournament at Lord's. The event would see England, a West Indies Stanford XI and two full ICC teams invited by the ECB play three matches – two semi-finals and a final – for a winner takes all prize of $10m.

The contracts are yet to be signed but it is only a matter of time after both parties agreed that the event should not be a one off and considerable investment would be made in to West Indies and English cricket. The ECB do not want the event to be about the rich getting richer, and Sri Lanka and New Zealand will be the first two teams invited to play.

The first Twenty20 for $20m game is expected to take place at Stanford's own ground on 1 November, Antigua Independence Day, later this year. The date fits in before England's scheduled tour of India. The quadrangular tournament is unlikely to be played before 2010. Attempts to organise it this year would be hectic and in 2009 England host the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup and compete for the Ashes.

Stanford is a potential investor in a soon to be revamped England Premier League too, but he is not the only figure keen to get involved. The ECB are yet to finalise a format for the new Twenty20 league and are expected to make an announcement in a month's time. City franchises and regional cricket sides are unlikely to feature and it too will not start before 2010.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth