Trent Boult’s decision to not continue his contract with New Zealand Cricket is not a surprise and might just be the beginning of many cricketers in the future to follow in his footsteps. The New Zealand left-arm pacer has said it’s been a tough decision for him as he needs to spend time with his family, which he is not able to give with the amount of cricket he has been playing in the past 12 years.
He has been a great servant for his country for so many years and has been their leading bowler in all formats and he knows that at the age of 33 he has got very little time left as a fast bowler and needs to balance cricket with family commitments. With so many lucrative T20 leagues happening around the world, players are bound to select what’s best for them.
In the past, many West Indian players have opted for the lucrative Indian Premier league and other franchise cricket than to play for their national teams. The West Indian board tried its best, but it was of no avail as players were getting a better deal playing franchise cricket compared to what they receive while playing for their country.
Indian cricket board, the richest in the world, and their players get the best deal by being part of the national team as well as the richest Indian league. Indian players’ calendar is so tight that they don’t have time to play other leagues, most importantly they are not allowed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take part in any other league.
But I know a few players, who could not be selected either for the national team or for an IPL franchise, retired so that they could go and participate in leagues like the T10 or Canada Premier league. England does pay its players well and ensures that the big players are back for national duty. But we have seen player like Moeen Ali hanging his boots in Tests so that he can focus on the white-ball cricket as well as the leagues around the world.
Packer World Series
One can’t stop a player of the calibre of Moeen or Jos Buttler if he wishes to retire, though Buttler has still not retired from Tests. Similarly Australian cricket does ensure that their players are paid well enough so that they don’t slip up for a lucrative contract from other franchise leagues. Wanindu Hasaranga of Sri Lanka did not get an NOC from the board so that he remains fresh for the Asia Cup and then the World Cup. This time they could hold him back, but how long the respective boards can convince or retain their players only time will tell.
Time goes back to the Kerry Packer World Series in Australia, which was played way back between 1977 and 1979 in commercial competition to international cricket. Won’t be surprised if it’s the beginning of a new revolution in World Cricket like football.