New Zealand cricketers have benefited from playing in the annual Indian Premier League (IPL), national selector Gavin Larsen has said. Larsen says New Zealand Cricket (NZC) makes sure that their players, if picked by franchisees, are available to play in the IPL despite scheduling woes.Also Read - IPL 2021: Looking Forward To Repeat What We Did Here Last Year, Says Kieron Pollard
“It’s very clear. Its highlighted in our Master Agreement (MA) that IPL window must be available for our players if they do get picked up by a franchise,” Larsen told PTI. “When our players are picked up by IPL franchise, they can only develop their game. We are seeing some of the results that have come in terms of Players’ improvement which has been a fantastic part of cricket growth.” Also Read - WTC Loss, IPL Drought, Challenges With Selectors Reason Behind Virat Kohli Stepping Down as Team India T20 Captain: Report
Larsen says a part of his job requires him to monitor how New Zealand cricketers are faring in the IPL especially in the light of back-to-back T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021. “Definitely, part of the role to continually monitor the group of players, both guys who are incumbent Black Caps and those who are in the ranks, to make sure they are managed appropriately, they are working on their games. IPL is a part of that,” he said. Also Read - Rishabh Pant to Remain Delhi Capitals Captain For Remainder of IPL 2021
New Zealand has a population that barely touches five million and with rugby being the top sport in the country, it’s hard to maintain a steady flow of fresh cricketing talent. “Cricket is a big part of our DNA and we called it our ‘Summer Game’. Clearly rugby sits on top of the ladder. When a young talent is identified in New Zealand, it is very important for us to try and hold that talent up in the pipeline. We can’t afford because of our size and scale to have too much attrition,” Larsen explained.
While the clash between international calendar and IPL window is inevitable, it’s not a big issue for Larsen. “There are small challenges around scheduling, for instance, England tours, which can be packed up close to IPL. So it’s a challenge around players’ availability. But it’s not a common issue generally I am not being negative,” he said.
New Zealand are already working on the transition phase considering the likes of Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult among others will be approaching the twilight of their international careers in the coming few years.
“Absolutely, any country does run a succession plan across three formats. There are series of scouts who put their thoughts into the melting pot. We co-ordinate all that and are pretty clear on who our developing talent is. The guys like Wags (Wagner), Taylor, they are not going to be around forever. So chapters close and then new chapter opens,” Larsen said.
In the past one year, New Zealand have been involved in four Super Overs and they have lost all of them including the ODI World Cup final in England. Larsen said it’s more of a tactical shortcoming than mental block.
“We don’t want to see another Super Over,” Larsen quipped. “I think it’s not a mental block but probably we need to tactically rethink from bowling point of view. You know we have given the ball regularly to Tim Southee as our experienced bowler to bowl the Super Overs. Perhaps, we need to sit back and just work on who could be our best option. Frankly, if I don’t see any Super Over for next five to 10 years, I will be very happy.”