Just a day after Kevin Pietersen slammed the ECB for pulling out their players from the IPL, Ricky Ponting has given a completely contrary view, asking for the country to be put ahead of the IPL. The English players have already departed, albeit late, to fulfill their international commitments.
After thrashing Ireland 2-0 in the ODI series, England is all set to take on South Africa in a three-match ODI series on home turf commencing on May 24, in which players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Chris Woakes, who had missed the Ireland series due to IPL, will take part. The players have joined the preparatory camp in Spain for the series, but the initial move hasn't gone well with the former Australian skipper, who wondered how cricketers could opt for clubs ahead of their countries.
“I don’t like to see that; I’d like to think that wouldn’t happen with Australian players ever,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“If a decision had been made six months ago that those players weren’t going to play against Ireland for some reason, then I guess you could understand it a little bit. But when I was sitting there watching that one-day game and noticed these other guys are over in India playing in the IPL, it doesn’t sit that well with me. I’m a bit
Ben Stokes had been a key player for the Rising Pune Supergiant throughout the tournament and heavily contributed with both bat and ball to help Pune secure the second spot in the IPL standings. The English all-rounder scored 316 runs and scalped 12 wickets for the Pune side, who will now surely struggle to fill the huge void created by Stokes' absence. Although Jos Buttler's figures may not be as good as his compatriot, the Mumbai Indians’ batsman gave his side some scintillating starts throughout the tournaments which eventually turned into victories. The Englishman scored 272 runs in 10 matches for his franchise.
Two-time World Cup winning Australian skipper Ponting, who played in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians before taking over as Mumbai’s coach, though, felt that countries should be realistic about the IPL and should find a way to not counter it.
“New Zealand [who have allowed their players to stay on in the IPL despite the tri-series being on in Ireland] from last three or four years has never had their matches when the IPL is on for that reason,” argued Ponting. “They are worried that the contract money that they are on with New Zealand is totally outweighed by what they can make in IPL.
“These countries (New Zealand and Sri Lanka) have to be quite mindful of that. West Indies in another one it has happened with through the years and that has probably cost them to a certain degree.”
Despite harping on the English players, the talismanic Aussie, too, conceded that the IPL provided them better quality competition than that they could get by playing against Ireland.
“It’s a hard one. What is the right preparation for the individual? But what’s the right preparation for the team? Do you want to have your team together as much as you can and working on certain roles for players? Or do England already know what Stokes can do, and what Buttler can do? To be fair, they probably do. They’re probably playing a better standard of cricket in the IPL, but it’s a different format isn’t it,” said Ponting.