'Let's not blame everything on the IPL'
Andrew Strauss reignited the Indian Premier League loyalty debate, saying skipping the lucrative T20 tournament helped his side in the Test series against India.
Blame it on the Indian Premier League.
That seems to be the mantra these days. For any and every poor performance put in by Team India, the lucrative tournament gets the flak.
There are many who believe that most players are so concerned about earning big in the tournament that they remain more committed to it vis-a-vis when they are part of the national team. There are others who believe the tournament is largely responsible for the many injuries the Indian players suffer.
Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan, to name a few, featured in the IPL this year and have since been injured at some stage or the other. This affected the national team's prospects in general, and their respective performances, in particular.
Without being judgmental on the topic, it suffices to say that our players don't like it when their poor show in national colours is put down to the lucrative tournament.
"Let's not blame everything on the IPL," said MS Dhoni, when quizzed on the issue.
The India captain's response goes a long way in explaining the frustration of the many players who earn big playing the seven-week tournament.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
'There have been benefits in us being less involved in the tournament'
However, the England team offers a sharp contrast.
The fourth edition of the IPL, held from April 8 to May 29 this year, didn't have any of the English team members, save Eoin Morgan (for Kolkata Knight Riders). It was likewise in the three previous editions, with most high-profile England players being conspicuous by their absence from the tournament.
It might be owing to national commitments or the concurrently running County season, England has thus far made the least contribution by a nation in the IPL.
If Andrew Strauss, England's captain, is to be believed, not being a part of the marquee tournament held his team in good stead.
"From an England team's perspective, there have been some benefits in us being less involved in the tournament," he admitted.
"In some ways we have been less affected than the other sides," he added.
Image: Eoin Morgan
'You can never hold it against the player for playing in the IPL'
Strauss, however, empathized with the players who choose to play in the tournament.
"You can never hold it against the player for playing in the IPL," he reasoned.
"He may play the tournament for financial reasons, maybe with the thought of improving his game or whatever.
"But, as I said, you can understand as to why an individual wants to get involved in that tournament," he added.
Strauss may have given those playing the IPL, and underperforming in national colours, the benefit of the doubt.
However, the abject Indian surrender on the ongoing tour, coupled with the dominant showing by England -- with most of the team choosing to give the tournament a miss -- has ensured the debate regarding the negative effect of the IPL will continue unabated.
Image: Andrew Strauss celebrates after winning the fourth Test