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Record IPL media rights deal will change players outlook towards the game: James Taylor

Taylor feared that more and more players could turn as T20 cricketers instead of representing their nation at the Test level.

James Taylor
James Taylor. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Investec)

Former England batsman James Taylor expressed his opinion over the recent IPL media rights deal. STAR won the auction and will be paying a huge sum of Rs 16,347.5 crores over the next five years to the BCCI. The amount is humungous and will change the way players look at the game feels Taylor.

The IPL was a game-changer in T20 cricket as it ensured that players earn a handsome salary over the course of 8 weeks. Players like Ben Stokes earn much more than what they make while playing for England. While most of the cricketers have remained committed to their country but players like Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle and a lot of other West Indies cricketers have chosen T20 league cricket over national duty. This might be a start of many, remarks Taylor.

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“Star Sports will pay nearly £2billion for the rights to the tournament for the next five years and there is every chance this will alter the way players look at the game,” wrote the 26-year old in his column for Evening Standard.

Taylor fears IPL will lure young players

STAR’s next challenge would be to devise a plan to get the most out of this five-year deal. With the media rights getting sold to an all-time high, it is natural that the players’ salary will keep getting higher and higher for the years to come. Taylor, who had to prematurely retire from cricket due to a rare heart condition, said that Test cricket still remains the ultimate glory but such deals could tempt a lot of people.

“With the IPL and other Twenty20 tournaments around the world, you can have so much fun playing the game you love, earning more money than you would in international cricket and without the stress that brings. Some cricketers will look at it and think: “What is not to like?” wrote Taylor.

Boards might have to pay better to retain top players

Taylor said that the Australian and English Boards will have to give their cricketers a pay hike in order to keep them financially secure. He fears that many top cricketers could go the West Indies way if the money offered by their respective boards is not great.

“The pressure will surely intensify over time for the cricket boards in England and Australia to give better contracts to the top players.

We do not want to see a situation here like the one that has affected West Indies, where many of the best players compete in T20 leagues more often than they do in the international game.”

Taylor’s fear is genuine. With so much money involved in T20 leagues, players in quest of financial security are lured in. The number of such leagues is on the rise, the latest one being the Shpageeza Cricket League in Afghanistan hence the Board must take adequate measures to keep Test and ODI cricket as the pinnacle of cricket for budding young cricketers.

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