To earn top bucks, players from different countries come to play in the IPL every year. The cash-rich league, since its inception in 2008, has provided an alternate medium to players - Indians and foreigners - to earn money and secure their future.
But just like players, who are part of the league, keep praising the benefits of participating in the tournament, there are also many, especially former players, who find fault in the concept of the league and criticise it whenever they get a chance. The former West Indies captain Carl Hooper has become a new entrant in the long list of people who have held IPL responsible for poaching the players of their country.
According to Hooper, "One of the biggest threats facing cricket is the IPL".
Hooper's scathing remarks have come following West Indies' successful campaign in the recently concluded World Twenty20. He fears that the winning team could lose its way if the West Indies board doesn't hand out the long-awaited central contracts to its players.
West Indies' board have had a troubled history with its players, including Chris Gayle, who was at loggerheads with the board for a long time before sorting out the dispute and making himself available for the national team again.
Many eyebrows were raised when Gayle had said that he didn't want to play Test cricket anymore and want be involved in Twenty20 cricket. But Gayle's decision could have come more from the inability of the country's board of not having a proper wage-distribution plan rather than his fascination towards the slam-bang format. Had he been paid well for rendering his services for West Indies cricket, why he would have opted to play in the IPL or any other Twenty20 league?
Kevin Pietersen is another big name who drew flak from his team-mates and English media when he expressed his desire to be part of the IPL and asked the ECB to allow him to miss the early part of the English summer. And it is also said that Pietersen’s IPL ambition was the backdrop of the whole ‘text messages saga’, which led to his omission from the England side and had virtually put his international career on the verge of extinction recently.
And not just Gayle who faced these problems, but players like spinner Sunil Narine and allrounder Dwayne Bravo also missed Test duty to play in the IPL. So if players want to earn money, which their boards are unable to provide them, by playing in the IPL, then what's wrong in it? A country cannot hide its own deficiencies and blame players and the league which has given them an alternative to secure their future.
Hooper further said if players such as Narine get Board contract, they will be compelled to don national colours ahead of leagues such as IPL. "If Narine has a central contract that would mean he would have to play for the West Indies," Hooper was quoted as saying by The Advertiser
. "They [the board] have to figure out a way to get our key players contracted."
So if Hooper thinks providing central contracts to players will help West Indies field their best player on the park every time, then he should persuade his board to do so, instead of criticising the IPL or any other T20 league.