Strauss: IPL a risk worth tak­ing for Eng­land stars

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: Eng­land di­rec­tor of cricket An­drew Strauss believes the vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence gained from send­ing the coun­try’s play­ers to the IPL far out­weighs the risk of them pick­ing up in­juries dur­ing the T20 tour­na­ment.

All-rounder Ben Stokes re­turned from his im­pres­sive maiden IPL stint to help Eng­land take an unas­sail­able 2-0 lead in a one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries against South Africa but a knee is­sue led him to skip the fi­nal match, which the tourists won.

Fel­low IPL debu­tant Chris Woakes, nurs­ing a quad nig­gle, played only one match against the Proteas, even though there was no con­fir­ma­tion that they had sus­tained their in­juries in In­dia.

“That is the slight risk you take when you make peo­ple avail­able for a chunk of cricket that is out­side the in­ter­na­tional sched­ule,” Strauss told re­porters.

“In­juries are part and par­cel of life, but on one hand you weigh up the po­ten­tial risk and on the other you ask what they can po­ten­tially gain from that ex­pe­ri­ence. That’s what forms the de­ci­sion,” the for­mer cap­tain added.

The in­juries were not of “mas­sive con­cern” and the duo sat out the fi­nal South Africa one-dayer as a “pre­cau­tion­ary” mea­sure ahead of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy be­gin­ning today, he added.

Strauss is con­vinced the IPL ex­pe­ri­ence has given the Eng­land play­ers added im­pe­tus to con­tinue their white-ball resur­gence and claim a first global 50-overs ti­tle on home soil.

“We’ve seen that al­ready with the ma­tu­rity that Ben is spin­ners into the game later on and as the tour­na­ment moves to­wards the back end.”

So, will Edg­bas­ton be a replica of Eden Gar­dens then? “No, no … you’re still play­ing in Eng­land and your seam bowlers will have their op­por­tu­nity to strike with the new ball,” Peter­son said.

“It’s not go­ing to rag around cor­ners ei­ther. The ball doesn’t turn that ex­trav­a­gantly in Eng­land. But there will be just enough pur­chase for the spin­ners. Cap­tains will be glad that they have the vari­a­tion in their at­tack that the spin­ners pro­vide, but it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the cap­tains utilise their spin­ners ac­cord­ing to the con­di­tions.”

Peter­son believes South Africa are well-stocked in the spin depart­ment. Im­ran Tahir is the lead­ing spin­ner on the in­ter­na­tional cir­cuit and left-arm spin­ner Ke­shav Ma­haraj has shown use­ful prom­ise.

“Immy is world class,” Peter­son said. “There’s no doubt about that. play­ing with the bat.

“And it looked like he’s im­proved his bowl­ing at the death tremen­dously too,” he said of the all-rounder, who lived up to his $2.17 mil­lion price tag for the Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giant.

“I think Chris Woakes was say­ing that to go there, to learn from the best play­ers in the world and pit them­selves against the best play­ers in the world...

“They come back from that ex­pe­ri­ence know­ing they’re as good as any­one out there. The deep-rooted be­lief they He hardly bowls a bad ball any longer. Just so con­sis­tent. He also loves the big stage and these ICC tour­na­ments. It’s al­most as he raises his game to a higher level.

“Ke­shav’s done won­der­fully well since his com­ing into the Proteas en­vi­ron­ment. He has been su­perb in Test cricket and now he is get­ting a chance in one-day cricket. I thought he was un­lucky on de­but in Southamp­ton with a cou­ple of catches go­ing down, so it was good for his con­fi­dence that he picked up a few wick­ets at Lord’s.” get from that is mas­sively im­por­tant,” Strauss added.

While he was all for Eng­land play­ers en­rich­ing them­selves with the 20-overs ex­pe­ri­ence in In­dia, Strauss re­mains re­luc­tant to al­low play­ers to skip Test matches for the IPL.

“Per­son­ally, I think that’s un­likely,” he said.

“When you get to the stage where you’re miss­ing Test matches to play in IPL that sends out a very strong mes­sage about where your pri­or­i­ties are and I would be un­com­fort­able with that.” – Reuters

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