If the top coaches in English County cricket have their way, several international cricketers may find it difficult to win Indian Premier League contracts from 2014 season.
The lucrative BCCI venture is already a controversial subject as several cricket Boards, especially Australia, see it as an exercise that quickly burns out top cricketers and directly impacts performances in serious cricket.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson is upset that some of his top men will miss large portions of this summer's County calendar because they will be busy in the April 3 to May 26 Premier League in India.
Nottinghamshire have already stopped their players from playing in the Indian T20 championship and Essex could well follow suit.
Effectively, English players Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah and Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate (in pic) may not find an IPL contract from 2014. Shah has a contract with Rajasthan Royals and the pugnacious Ten Doeschate is a vital cog in holders Kolkata Knight Riders' line-up. Bopara is expected to feature in the IPL auctions on February 3.
With the England cricket Board strict in employing their policy against IPL, Notts were the first County to ask three key players - Samit Patel, Michael Lumb and Alex Hales - to stay away from the IPL auctions. Essex's worries are equally acute. Between Bopara, Shah and Ten Doeschate, they may miss six County championship games and three 40-40 fixtures. And Grayson is not amused.
Speaking to Essex Chronicle, Grayson said: It's something we keep discussing on a regular basis about what we're going to do and eventually we might make a decision and say: 'enough's enough you either play for Essex or you play somewhere else'.
"Some counties are putting a stop to it and not letting their players go. We'll see (what we decide to do). Notts were the first ones that said if their lads go to the IPL then they don't play for Notts, it's up to them what they decide to do."
Grayson said that the club was working with the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Professional Cricketers' Association to establish whether or not such a proposal would contravene any employment laws.
The other danger is that top players could well decide to leave for other Counties willing to accept their demands. "If they're under contract they can't do anything about it but if they're at the end of their contract they might go to another club that lets them go to the IPL, if that's what they want to do," said Grayson.
Grayson added: "It can be a bit of a problem but it gives one or two of the younger lads a chance to go out and show what they can do… Just because they go to the IPL there's no guarantee they'll walk back in to the side. You've got to be loyal to players, it works both ways."
If English Counties have to ensure that their players remain loyal to the County programme, all 18 of them must have a unique code of conduct that puts County before IPL. The England Board is not a great fan of the money-spinning BCCI project, but several key players like Kevin Pietersen (Delhi Daredevils) and Eoin Morgan (KKR) have struck goldmines with their Indian franchises.
With the County season starting April 10 and directly in confrontation with the IPL dates, the English drama is just beginning.
Story first published on: Wednesday, 30 January 2013 16:28 IST