‘Naive to think players will turn down big T20 league money to play for country’

London, May 13 (PTI) England Test coach Brendon McCullum feels the cricketing landscape is changing quickly and the time is not far when several players will choose big money in T20 leagues across the world over playing for their respective countries.
The charismatic former New Zealand cricketer, who has turned around the fortunes of the England Test team along with skipper Ben Stokes in the last one year, indicated that cricket boards would be “naive” if they think players will turn down lucrative T20 league offers to play for the country.
“In the end, the game is going in a different direction,” McCullum told Sen Radio.
“The last few years, there’s been a shifting of the sand somewhat around international cricket and we’d be completely naive to think that players would turn down huge amounts of money on long-term contracts for a lot less work in these T20 leagues because they should be playing international cricket.
“Those days are fast approaching to be over,” said McCullum, who stepped down as IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders’ chief coach after he was offered the job to manage the England Test side.
McCullum opined that the boards will have to find a solution to the tricky issue as they cannot just allow their top cricketers to play only in the leagues while giving international cricket the short shrift.
“So, what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to work with these players, you got to work with these leagues and try and allow ideally players to have their cake and eat it too because you want your best players playing (international cricket).
“It’s not good enough to say. You know what if they don’t want to play international cricket for us, then bugger them… we’ll move on and find someone different, because as a spectator, you want to see the best players in the world representing their countries,” he said.
“I think you’ve got to work with them and that’s something which we’ll be challenged with.”
There is speculation that year-round domestic T20 league contracts could become a reality that could potentially empower franchises to dictate terms and McCullum feels the game’s governing bodies should ensure that players return to play international fixtures for the their respective countries.
“The thing from our point of view is how do we ensure that when that decision (to play in T20 leagues for for country) comes, they’re thinking about how great of a time they have representing the England Test side,” said McCullum.
“How much fun they’ve had, how much those experiences which they’ve been able to get in an England shirt is so great that they are prepared to continue to put their yards and even though it might not be as financially viable as some of the other leagues.”

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