Mumbai: Australia's spin legend Shane Warne said that IPL win as as the most exciting chapter of a 20-year career that has included several Ashes series, world records and a World Cup victory.
Warne has also urged authorities to impose an annual two-month freeze on international cricket in deference to the Twenty20 competition. The champion leg spinner retired from international cricket two years ago but is still the playing coach of the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and led the unfancied team to the championship in its inaugural season last year.
Warne said cricketing nations, led by the ICC, had to agree on a two-month break in scheduling to ensure players were not forced to choose between club and country. "I think for world cricket, I think [because of] the IPL for April and May, there should be no international cricket, and all the players around the world should be involved," he said.
"In 20 years of playing … I haven't experienced any like what I experienced in India last year. It was truly unbelievable. The Ashes [in] '05 comes pretty close to the intensity of the crowd, and the passion and the news, but we were getting [more than] 110,000 at Eden Gardens, there was 25,000 outside the ground for the final, plus 90,000 in the stadium."
While international players signed to the IPL last season were able to opt out of matches in India when their country was playing matches, recent IPL rule changes will prevent franchises (clubs) from signing temporary replacement players. This will increase the pressure on elite players to honour their lucrative IPL contracts, even if it means boycotting their national team.
"When you consider that most international cricketers are being paid far more by the IPL than by their home boards, for significantly less cricket, this won't be a terribly difficult decision," Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said last month.
The issue of match scheduling is being discussed by Cricket Australia and the ACA in their negotiations over a new memorandum of understanding, which is effectively an enterprise bargaining agreement between CA and its international and state cricketers.
"The Australian players, hopefully they can come to some sort of compromise and everyone is able to play," Warne said.
"I think for the players, they have to have that opportunity to earn (all) the money they can possibly make, but also to sell the brand of cricket worldwide. Twenty20, I believe, is one of the best forms to do that."