London, Nov.22 : England's cricketers will have to make a hard choice between retaining their central contracts or signing up for next season's Indian Premier League (IPL), said Hugh Morris, the managing director of the team.
"We will be playing Test matches in the early part of May and clearly that will have an impact on the amount of time that players may or may not go to IPL. My understanding is that the International Cricket Council, IPL and the ECB have made it very clear from the word go that international cricket takes precedence over domestic tournaments and I think that will be the case. That's the very clear message we get from ICC. I understand that is what IPL think as well," The Telegraph quoted Morris, as saying. The ECB added the May Tests to their program in 2000, a move that boosted the value of their TV deal, currently with Sky.
The broadcaster also paid 330 million pounds for the new four-year deal that begins after next year's Ashes. To cancel those two Tests, ECB would have to pay five million pounds per match as compensation to Sky while also losing out on the 10-15 million pounds that each match generates, a potentially ruinous chunk for a middle-sized company.
This year's central contracts with the ECB are still to be signed, but if there is an impasse between players and Board, only agents with brazen self-interest are promoting one.
"I think we've made it very clear that we are very happy for the players to have a window of opportunity for the players to play in the IPL," said Morris.
To play in the IPL, players need no objection certificates from their respective boards.
Mindful of the hectic international itinerary, ECB had said they would leave the decision over them to the coach Peter Moores.
"Peter makes a recommendation to me and that goes to the board," said Morris.
"Ultimately any decision can be over-ruled by the board - that is just the corporate organization," he added.