Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd does not agree with the observation that playing for the country is becoming less significant for players because of the rise of numerous franchise leagues like the Indian Premier League. Backing tournaments like the IPL, he opined that cricketers deserve to earn a good living.
The country vs money debate was reignited following India’s loss in the World Test Championship final to Australia at The Oval. India played the WTC final just a few days after the IPL 2023 summit clash and went down to the Aussies by 209 runs.
Speaking to Revsportz on the show ‘Backstage With Boria’ to mark the 40th anniversary of India's 1983 World Cup win, Lloyd shared his frank views on T20 leagues:
"I think we went to Kerry Packer because we did not know our worth. These guys now know what they are worth. But I think that if IPL is such an important part of their lives, just give them a window so that they can play IPL.
"Yes, a window would be excellent, I think, because they are earning a good living. And do not forget, you are giving your best part, the best days of your life to this sport. So why not be paid for it?"
“When Michael Jordan and all these footballers were earning millions per month, nobody said anything about it. Why cricket should be different?” theeWest Indies legend added.
Lloyd, though, added that he does not want West Indies to suffer because players want to go to different T20 tournaments. The two-time World Cup winning captain elaborated:
“You cannot stop them from doing that. It gives them a good future. But the point is that they should not do this to the detriment of playing for their country or their nation.
"And we suffer because we are only five and a half million people. So if we groom twenty players and lose ten, it is like digging a hole to fill a hole. And I do not want that."
"I want our best players to play and I want them to play to their optimum. So, we must have a situation where players must want to play for their country."
In recent years, a few West Indian players like Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have preferred franchise cricket over international cricket.
“You are getting there” - Clive Lloyd backs India to win ICC event
Even as many critics have questioned India’s inability to win an ICC event since 2013, Lloyd doesn’t see that as a big problem. According to him, it’s just a matter of time, as India have come close to winning many times. He said:
"You are getting there. You have got to the semifinals and finals and so on. You have qualified for multiple finals. I think the future could be very good for India because now, because of the IPL, you have a larger section of cricketers to choose from.
"And probably they are getting an experience that the other players did not get, rubbing their shoulders with the ex-captains, ex-players and successful players. So, the point is that probably in the future, India will have a tremendous one-day side."
“There is every reason to believe you will have a very good 50 overside. You have got a terrific Test side, and it's just a matter of time before you win a big tournament. Things go in cycles and it will happen in the future, I am sure," Lloyd asserted.
India recently celebrated ten years of the 2013 Champions Trophy win, which also marked their last triumph in an ICC event.