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As T20 Leagues Proliferate Cricketers May Have To Choose Between Club And Country

Cricket is broken, they said when Ben Stokes gave up ODIs to concentrate on his Test career. But even as the death of the 50-overs format was being freely predicted, ICC’s future tours programme is dotted with cricket in all three formats, as busy as ever. It’s not cricket that is broken but the bodies of star cricketers who are playing too much. The greatest danger ahead even as Trent Boult quits the New Zealand contract and predicates his playing future around various T20 leagues is that T20 franchises will soon be ruling world cricket. Indian IPL owners have bought into the Caribbean, South African and UAE leagues and soon the stars may be forced to make a difficult choice between club and country. Cricket Australia is prepared to spend a hefty packet to keep David Warner interested in the Big Bash rather than travel to UAE as expanding T20 leagues start cutting into the southern summer cricket scheduling in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Spectators used to own the game until the TV stations came along with their multi-million-dollar rights bids. And now it appears the T20 franchise owners, like the club-owning oligarchs of English football, are set to dominate world cricket.