UK center-contracted players risk missing out on the remainder of the COVID-19-hit Indian Premier League (IPL) season if the Twenty20 tournament clashes with the international schedule, managing director Ashley Giles said on Monday.
The IPL was suspended indefinitely last week after several players and support staff tested positive for COVID-19. India reported 366,161 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, bringing the number of cases to 22.66 million.
One potential window to complete the IPL is before the Twenty20 World Cup in October, when England are due to visit Bangladesh and Pakistan.
“If these tours continue, I would expect the (players) to be there,” Giles told British media. “We are planning to involve the English players in the England matches.”
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Giles had previously agreed that England players involved in the later stages of the IPL could miss the top-ranked two-test series against New Zealand from June 2.
“The New Zealand scenario was very different,” Giles said. “These matches were formalized at the end of January, when contracts were signed for the players to fully participate in the IPL.”
Following the postponement of the IPL, England internationals Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali – all currently in 10-day isolation in government-approved hotels – could now be selected.
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But Giles said those in quaRantine will not be rushed into the squad and England will likely consider a larger pool of players this summer.
“We have to take care of them, with the amount of cricket they have to come, we’re not going to rush or force them back into cricket,” Giles said.
“(Head Coach) Chris Silverwood will work with each of them, as will our medical teams, on what is best for their progress.”
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Former England captain Kevin Pietersen tweeted asking all England players to come together to try and get the ECB to change their minds and let the player play in the league, when he takes over.
It will be very interesting to see how the ECB deals with this problem by not allowing its best players to play IPL, if it is postponed.
When I faced ENG, I was alone.
This time, they are all their best branded players!
If they stick together, they will play IPL!
– Kevin Pietersen (@ KP24) May 12, 2021