IPL or Lord’s Test? New Zealand Cricket to take ‘pragmatic approach’ with its players

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IPL-bound players might miss a part or the whole of the home games against Bangladesh too

New Zealand Cricket will allow its cricketers to participate in the 2021 edition for as long as they need to, even if it means that some of them miss the end of the New Zealand home season and the first Test of the tour of England, at Lord’s.

The dates for the IPL aren’t out yet – likely to be in April-May – but the Lord’s Test is scheduled to start on June 2, and it could be that a few major all-format players, like captain Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, fail to join the team in time if their teams make the IPL playoffs.

The situation won’t be any different from England, whose leading multi-format cricketers, including Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler, might all miss that two-Test series.

Speaking to Stuff.co.nz NZC chief executive David White said, “NZC will take a pragmatic approach as these fixtures are a late addition to the schedule. We will work through the decision in conjunction with the players.” The Tests in question – the second one is in Southampton – were announced only last month, and don’t count towards the World Test Championship final, which New Zealand have already qualified for. That match will be played from June 18.

There’s also a chance that, depending on when the IPL-bound players are asked to link up with their franchises, they miss the home white-ball series against Bangladesh, which run from March 20 to April 1. “We are still awaiting advice as to when the IPL will start and what the MIQ protocols will be – but will take a pragmatic approach in the event of any clash,” White said.

As such, no New Zealand cricketer has ever missed a Test match because of the IPL, and there might not be a direct dates’ clash in this case either, but things could get tricky because of the Covid-19 situation.

Apart from Williamson and Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Santner and Tim Seifert all have teams in the IPL already, and 20 other New Zealand cricketers have put their names in the hat for the auction, to be held in Chennai on Thursday. Keeping in mind travel restrictions, New Zealand will follow the new norm of sending an expanded squad to England in any case.

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