MARTYN MOXON says that Liam Plunkett’s last-minute call-up to the Indian Premier League highlights how clubs are stuck between a rock and a hard place ahead of key talks designed to protect the county game.
The Yorkshire director of cricket will chair a meeting of his county counterparts at Edgbaston on Tuesday to discuss such issues as players’ involvement in global T20 competitions like the IPL in an effort to find a collective solution.
Although Yorkshire will be financially recompensed after Plunkett was snapped up by Delhi Daredevils on Saturday morning as a replacement for the injured South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, it pales into insignificance for Moxon against the loss of the England man for the opening five Championship games of the season.
Yorkshire were specifically hoping that Plunkett’s pace and bounce would exploit conditions in the matches against Somerset at Taunton and against Surrey at the Oval, and they felt in no position to prevent him from agreeing a circa USD 300,000 deal that rules him out for more than a third of the Championship campaign.
Yorkshire also play five of their eight Royal London Cup group games before the IPL ends on May 27, with Plunkett the 11th English player to be snapped up for this year’s event.
“It’s another example of us (the counties) being between a rock and a hard place,” said Moxon. “Surrey have had the same thing with Tom Curran.
“What do you do, stop a player going and earning a shed-load of money and have him disappointed around the dressing room for not allowing him to go, etc?
“It’s a lose-lose really for the counties, and it’s one of the items that we’ll be discussing on Tuesday because, as counties, we feel powerless at the moment.”
Moxon and his fellow DoCs will seek consensus in terms of salary structures for T20 globetrotters, financial compensation to counties and how best to prevent cricketers playing clubs off against each other in an effort to achieve more money/flexibility.
They will also discuss the increasing threat of players giving up red-ball cricket to chase T20 cash, a la Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid, and the future structure and protection of the Championship. Moxon will then present the findings to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Plunkett, 33, is recovering from injury himself after suffering a hamstring strain playing for England, although the demands of bowling four overs in T20 are somewhat less arduous to bowling long spells in the Championship.
“Our take on it is that Liam is fit to bowl - he was due to play in the second team next week at Bristol - but he’s not match-fit,” said Moxon.
“Being brutally honest, we left it to England and Liam to decide whether he felt fit enough to bowl in the IPL.
“He’s bowled with us indoors and deemed himself fit enough to go and play, so we’ll see.
“We’ve got cover, but that can change quickly, and it’s obviously disappointing from our point of view.”