Cricket: Vettori may miss start of England tour

By David Leggat

A compromise allowing three senior New Zealand players to miss the start of next month's tour of England in favour of playing lucrative Twenty20 games in India is in the pipeline.

New Zealand's first game in England is on April 27. The Indian Premier League starts on April 18.

If captain Daniel Vettori, vice-captain Brendon McCullum and senior allrounder Jacob Oram had to be in England for the start of one of the blue riband cricket tours, they would be able to play only two or three games for their Indian franchises.

However the Times of India has identified May 5 as the day New Zealand's players might be allowed to stay in India. That would give all three six games. On a pro-rata payment basis, that might enable McCullum - the highest priced of the three at US$700,000 ($875,120) per annum for three years - to pocket about US$45,000 a game; Oram would get about US$43,000 a game and Vettori about US$41,000. All three would receive 10 per cent of their money before they pick up a ball in India.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan admitted he is "quite relaxed" on whether all three should arrive in England with the rest of the national side.

"On one hand the traditional thought is that is what has always happened," he told the Weekend Herald last night.

"But we do need to appreciate we are in a changing landscape. We've got to have a pragmatic approach."

That may be a bad look, but Vaughan's view is that the key is sorting out "the best preparation ahead of the test matches [against England]".

He has yet to discuss with the players or coach John Bracewell the best way forward.

Vaughan said if the firm view was that all players should be there for the four leadup games to the first test starting at Lord's on May 15, every endeavour would be made for that to happen.

One complaint of touring teams is a lack of leadup to the internationals. Yet as Vettori pointed out yesterday, England is "an anomaly" in that it offered a more substantial preparation time.

The other two New Zealanders in the IPL, Stephen Fleming and Scott Styris, are unaffected by the dates. Fleming has retired and Styris is only playing one day internationals, which don't start until later in the tour.

Vettori maintained playing for New Zealand is "the most important thing for us".

"My heart is with New Zealand cricket. I want to play for New Zealand as long as I can, no way do I want to jeopardise that. But we also want to be able to get the best of both worlds."

He said when the players are available for the IPL "you reap the reward, when you are not you don't. Simple as that".

Vettori said he appreciated the view that the captain should be with his team from day one. He drew an analogy with international soccer, where players leave their clubs for a few days, play for their country then return to their club commitments. He speculated players may tour for shorter periods in the near future. If the players had 10 days' leadup to the first test "'it's still an extended period of time, longer than we have for any other tour". Vettori said finding a window for the IPL, which would not conflict with any country's international schedule was "the ideal scenario".

New Zealand Cricket Players' Association manager Heath Mills last night said it would be "remiss" to point the finger at the players for taking up IPL commitments. "The players are only reacting to the environment created for them."

WHAT THEY COULD EARN

* BRENDON McCULLUM (US$700,000)

IPL 10 per cent up front: US$70,000
If he plays six games, approx 45 per cent of US$630,000
Total: about US$350,000
From NZC With payments for test, ODI and Twenty20 appearances included:
Approx $220,000
Total: approx $655,700

* JACOB ORAM (US$675,000)

IPL 10 per cent up front: US$67,500
Six games, approx 45 per cent of US$598,500
Total: about US$345,000
From NZC Approx $220,000
Total: approx $649,500

* DANIEL VETTORI (US$625,000)

IPL 10 per cent up front equals US$62,500
Six games, approx 45 per cent of US$462,000
Total: about US$287,000
From NZC: $220,000
Total: approx $577,200

Note:

* NZC contracts will rise significantly when a new deal kicks in during the year.
* New Zealand players are likely to be available for more of the IPL in the second and third years of their contracts.
* Figures based on playing IPL until May 5.

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