Michael Vaughan has urged the England Cricket Board (ECB) to recognize its 'power' and say 'goodbye' to players who choose franchise cricket over their national team.
Writing in his column for The Telegraph, Michael Vaughan referred to a recent interview with ECB director Ashley Giles who expressed his apprehension over players quitting national duty for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Vaughan argued that the ECB is being 'paranoid' and suggested an outright rejection of such players until they return in a time of need.
"England are being paranoid if they think their players will turn down a central contract to play in the IPL. Ashley Giles told my show on the BBC this week that England do not want to go 'toe-to-toe' with players over the IPL because in the long run 'we may face losing some of our best players'," wrote Michael Vaughan.
"I think that is a wrong message to be sending. If an England player came to me aged 26 or 27 and said he was choosing the IPL and franchise cricket over an England deal my response would be simple, 'Go on then, see you later, goodbye, but I tell you what, I bet you come knocking back on my door in a year or two's time',” he added.
Michael Vaughan also suggested roadblocks. He called upon the ECB to extend the central contracts of players like Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer for at least a few years.
"If England really want to make sure it does not happen then why not offer their best players two or three year central contracts? High-level sport is about looking after the best individuals so give Ben Stokes or Jofra Archer more than a one-year contract. That way you are tying them down. Instead they have 12-month deals," said Michael Vaughan.
Reaching a moment when we say goodbye to international cricket: Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan further compared franchise cricket to the Premier League, which is exceedingly more popular than international bilateral football games. Vaughan warned that cricket might soon reach a similar stage where international cricket goes on a downward spiral.
"If we reach the stage where a player turns down a central contract for a franchise then cricket will be going the same way as football. It will be the moment when we say goodbye to international cricket as it is now," said Michael Vaughan.
The former England captain added in this regard:
"The Premier League is a better product than international football, other than World Cups and European Championships. You get the feeling in football players try to pull out of friendlies and the fans feel like they are missing out when international weeks are on because the Premier League is on hold. Cricket is not there yet but it could happen. This is why boards need to realise how powerful they are."
The IPL season kicks off on April 9 and will see the participation of many English stars like Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow.