The IPL has ended the monopoly of international cricket on players’ time, said Australia captain Pat Cummins, who feels going forward it will be a challenge to persuade players to prioritise national duty over franchise cricket.
Cummins agrees that Trent Boult’s decision to deny a New Zealand central contract for lucrative T20 league around the world has been in the offing since IPL changed the complexion of the game a decade ago.
“It’s been coming for a while, but I think it is here now,” Cummins was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald ahead of the World Test Championship Final against India at The Oval starting June 7.
“International cricket doesn’t have a monopoly on players’ time, like it did in the past. The IPL changed that a decade ago, but there’s just going to be more and more content that creeps in, so I think we’ve got to be proactive about that.” Cummins wants his teammates to consider national duty bigger than anything else but said that would be a challenge in these times of cash-rich franchise-based leagues.
“We have to keep making playing for Australia as special as we can, keeping a high performance to get every single player wanting to play for Australia as much as we can. That’s going to be the challenge.
“I think it’s upon us now, and we’ve got to start thinking about that quite deeply. I think fast-forward a few years time, a 12-month international calendar might look a little bit different,” the pace spearhead said.
Cummins believes cricket is going soccer’s way and there will be a time when national teams will need clearances from franchises to play for the country.
“When you’re talking about some of the opportunities that may be provided through the franchises, I don’t think you can blame players that might take that option,” he said.
“I see the day where that (a franchise release) happens. I think it’s reality. You’ve seen it in other sports. So again, we’ve got to keep selling why playing for Australia is so special. And making sure there is some flexibility to try and get the best out of these guys.
“We still want the best players winning World Cups for us, winning big series. But obviously, there’s more competing interests than there were in the past.
“That’s why things are starting to quicken up, and it’s moving towards a more world football model, where you play for your club, employed by your club, and you get released to play for your country.”
Cummins believes the WTC provides bilateral Test series more context.
He said he is looking forward to Australia’s first WTC Final and that too against India, who made the cut in the last edition as well.
“We’ve got India in the World Test Championship final first, which I think a lot of people forgot,” Cummins said.
“It feels like second time around it’s got a little bit more on it. It felt like a big missed opportunity that first one. So it certainly gives a bit more context to every series now, something big to play for.
“The big series, say Ashes or India series where you play four or five Test matches, are obviously big battles, whereas the more common series where you play two or three in a series, it (the World Test Championship) gives them a bit more global context and something a bit extra to play for.”