Sydney: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has once again highlighted the need for a separate window for the Indian Premier League (IPL). Ponting only played in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008, for Kolkata Knight Riders, and said he decided not to return so as to prolong his career at the international level.
The Australian also said that he understood the players’ point of view, with many cricketers choosing to neglect their national duties to play in the cash-rich Twenty20 competition. Ponting felt that scenario was unavoidable, with players earning far more in T20 competitions than they would playing for their countries.
"You can understand the players that are opting out of international cricket to go and play IPL," he told the Australian Associated Press. "New Zealand's a good case study there, they just don't schedule any international cricket when the IPL's on for the simple reason they would have lost most of their players to IPL and been left with next to nothing. I think there's something to be learned there."
Ponting lamented the fact that explosive batsman Chris Gayle would be once again missing from the West Indies squad as he would be representing Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Young spinner Sunil Narine also looks set to be unavailable for the upcoming Test series against Australia, as he is expected to choose a $700,000 IPL deal with Kolkata Knight Riders over the Tests. Australia are in the Caribbean for a three-match series, with the opening Test beginning in Bridgetown on April 7. "A West Indies side without Chris Gayle in it will struggle, but that's the modern game and it'll probably happen more and more with the amount of money that's being spent in those Twenty20 competitions around the world," he said.
Meanwhile, Ponting, who is back in the Test set-up after being dropped from the ODI and T20 squads, backed Michael Clarke's decision to play in the IPL, and said that the current Australian captain would have given it ample thought. Clarke was signed by Pune Warriors India in their bid to replace Yuvraj Singh, who is recovering after his treatment for a malignant tumour.
"I'm sure he would have weighed up everything before he'd even have considered playing in the IPL," he said. "It's a personal decision for him, doesn't really matter what everyone else thinks about it. He's just got to work out what's best for him and his body as far as his cricket is concerned over the next few years."