ECB chairman Strauss puts IPL experience ahead of Tests

London, Nov 14 (IANS) England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director Andrew Strauss said players will be allowed to skip future Test series to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other Twenty20 leagues to keep them fresh for limited-overs cricket.

With a number of IPL franchises already circling around top England players such as Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, Strauss said that “hard decisions” would have to be made to keep players fresh while also giving them the maximum experience of limited overs cricket.

“The great thing about going to those tournaments (T20 league) is that you go as an overseas player, so you’re under pressure to perform and win games of cricket. That’s exactly what we want our players to do,” Strauss was quoted as saying by The Telegraph on Friday.

“Thirty-eight of the 44 players involved in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup had IPL experience. We should seek further opportunities to get our guys in there,” he said.

Strauss also urged a greater separation between the longer and shorter formats.

“We won’t get better by treating one-day cricket as the poor relation. We always make our sacrifices in one-day cricket rather than Test cricket, but we need to have far more balance between the two formats. Our best way to prioritise both is by having more separation and more specialists in each team,” the former England skipper said.

At the same time, though, the former batsman insisted that Test cricket retained its importance, and expressed concern about the swathes of empty seats at recent Tests in Brisbane, Sharjah and Mohali.

“I don’t think that looks good for the game. We can never be arrogant and just assume that Test cricket will stay forever. We all have a responsibility to try to help the game of cricket grow. The people that are focused and in charge of that are the ICC, and they have to make sure they give Test cricket the best possible chance,” Strauss said.

Exiled English batsman Kevin Pietersen’s back-to-back centuries in the South African Ram Slam T20 tournament last week pushed his case for a return to the national T20 side.

But Strauss added, “We’ve pretty much identified the group of players we want to work with in the short term. Its important give them opportunities to develop. It would be wrong to be searching in very different directions right now Of course, that doesn’t mean it is a closed shop long-term.”

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