ECB Director of Cricket Ashley Giles has said that England has a busy international schedule from June and if the T20 tournament is rescheduled this year, players will not be available in the suspended IPL.
The IPL was halted last week after multiple COVID-19 cases inside its bio-bubble. There are two windows to re-launch the T20 event this year — one in the second half of September and one before the T20 World Cup (October-November) and the other between mid-November.
But England’s top players are in action at both times. They have tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan in September and October, but they will compete against Australia in the Ashes after the T20 World Cup.
“We are planning the involvement of England players in the England matches. We have a full FTP schedule. So if the Pakistan and Bangladesh tours go ahead, I hope the players will be there,” Giles told ESPNcricinfo.
There are 11 Englishmen in various franchises in the suspended IPL.
“None of us know what the reorganized IPL will be like now, where it will be and when it will be. But since we started against New Zealand this summer, our program has been very busy,” Giles said.
“We have got a very important, top-notch cricket, including the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. And we have to take care of our players.”
Giles dismissed the suggestion that interference in the IPL would signal a change in policy from the ECB, as management had allowed a dozen players to miss the Test series against New Zealand in early June.
“The New Zealand scenario is very different. The Test matches were formalized at the end of January, by which time those contracts and NOCs (no objection certificates) had been signed for full involvement in the IPL.
Giles is hopeful that players will get “a little more freedom” from bio-bubbles as the England summer progresses. From May 28, Test players will have the opportunity to enter their latest bubble.
The England players will appear in the Hundred starting on 21 July and running until 21 August.
“We want them to be in the Hundred at some point and start that competition. It would be great if our best players could play in it. But we have to look at the workload very carefully.”
Giles suggested that England should try some new faces over New Zealand.
“What we do know, and what will not change is the weight of cricket. In view of the Ashes series (this winter), we do not know what conditions Kovid will play in the current climate, but we still need a bigger group of players,” he said.
“We can also pick against New Zealand to see some new faces. With all the other cricket we have played, we almost want to get this topping towards the Ashes. We have to get it right.
“Is this against New Zealand? I do not know, that’s something we need to continue to debate.”