England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stand-in director, Andy Flower says participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) hinders many “growth opportunities” for the country’s players in first-class cricket.
Meanwhile, during his tenure as the England coach, Flower was sceptical of English players’ participating in the IPL. He believed it might take a toll on the cricketer’s Test forms.
However, this often put him in a confrontation with some of the England players, who wanted to feature in IPL. As a result, only a handful of English players featured in the league.
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Things, however, changed after Strauss took charge, as he respected player’s decision to feature in IPL. Flower, though, has raised his doubts once again. He feels by playing IPL; the cricketers are missing one some excellent first-class cricket.
“The ECB position, at the moment, is to allow some of our best players to go to the IPL. And a lot of people will say things have thankfully moved on from the time I made my decisions around subjects like the IPL,” Flower said to ESPNCricinfo.
“[By playing in the IPL] they do miss out on some really excellent growth opportunities in first-class cricket for their counties. There is no doubt about that. But the understanding at the moment is that they are growing in other ways, playing under a lot of pressure, in front of big crowds and among some of the best players in the world at the IPL,” he added.
Domestic structure need some changes
The 50-year old has raised eyebrows over English domestic structure too, saying it needs some changes.
He also added they are trying to create international conditions and put players in alien situations.
“We want to, ideally, recreate international conditions in our domestic cricket. The ECB spend a reasonable amount of money in Lions and Young Lions [Under-19] programmes. What we try to do there is provide some added value experiences that the counties can’t provide in their first-class structure. We try and put the players in alien conditions, against really good opposition most of the time and almost mirroring some long, tough overseas tours,” Flower concluded.