He does not quite know how it can be worked out but former India captain Rahul Dravid wants an arrangement in which the world's best cricketers can play in the Indian Premier League without compromising on representing their country in the Test arena.
"I'm not sure what the solution to it is exactly but I would love to be in a situation where the best players can play the IPL as well as represent their country in Test cricket," Dravid, who led Rajasthan Royals in the previous IPL, said.
"People like Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen are fantastic for Test cricket as they are for IPL and T20 cricket. And they have a short window in which to show us their talent," he added. "At the end of the day this is the game for the fans. The best players should represent their country -- it is not only about the people who come to the ground. It is also for the young boys and girls who passionately follow their country in Test cricket. It is hard and disappointing when the best players don't turn up to play for their country."
Dravid insisted that there is need for a compromise formula. "The reality is the IPL is an important tournament and people do want to play it," Dravid was quoted as saying on BBC's Test Match Special at Lord's during the third Test between England and South Africa. "And we are probably coming to a stage where maybe a time will come (when) there will need to be give-and-take -- whether it is finding a window, or, whether making the tournament a little shorter," he added.
Asked if the IPL, which lasts for close to two months, was responsible for Kevin Pietersen falling out with the ECB and losing support from his teammates, which led to him missing the Lord's Test, Dravid said he was not sure whether the mega-event was responsible for the situation.
Dravid, however, said that a solution was necessary as the IPL would continue to clash with the start of the England cricketing summer and the longest version of the game could not afford to lose big names like Pietersen and Chris Gayle.
"There are some positives with the IPL and you have to understand that if the top players in the world want to play it and people want to watch then there is got to be some thing good about it is as well." Dravid, who is in London to attend the MCC cricket committee meetings, said, "It does effect the England season particularly, and, especially since traditionally the English season has been the same for many, many years. So it is challenging that a little bit. In time we are getting to that stage where all of us want the best players playing (Test cricket).
"We all want Chris Gayle playing for West Indies whenever West Indies play a Test match. None of us want to see a situation today where a great player like Kevin misses out today for whatever reasons and I don't want to get into that. But it is disappointing. The game is a loser when the top players don't play Test cricket," he added.
Pietersen had stirred a controversy in April this year when he said England were jealous of the IPL and then a month later, he retired from limited-overs cricket, saying he wanted to focus only on Tests. But the ECB central contracts state that any player who makes himself unavailable for either format of limited-overs cricket is automatically ruled out of selection for both ODIs and T20s.
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