Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has slammed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for making all-rounder Ben Stokes return home from the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Stokes’ franchise, the Rising Pune Supergiants, qualified for the playoffs, but they are to be without the 25-year-old as he has to head back to England to join his team-mates prior to their training camp in Spain.
Following the training camp, England will take on South Africa in a three-match ODI series before featuring in the Champions Trophy.
However, Pietersen questioned whether the ECB made the right choice in making Stokes go to Spain rather than allowing him to represent the Supergiants in the IPL playoffs.
“I think it’s pathetic. An absolute shamble,” he said on Sky Sports. “Stokes should be playing in the semi-final, and the final. The last week of the IPL is a huge occasion.
“Just speak to him, speak to Jos Buttler, they’ll talk about how much it has helped their development being out there. What are they going to Spain for? To field a couple of balls? He should be playing in the IPL.
“I’m going to be in Mumbai for the semi-final on Tuesday and I’m excited by that as a commentator – that stadium is electric.
“It’s only going to be benefiting English cricket for that bloke to be playing on Tuesday, getting his team to a final on Sunday, and then possibly lifting the trophy. He is the kind of player that could do that. He has had the most brilliant campaign. I think everybody knew he was going to play well. He went for a big number but the big number didn’t affect him.”
England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is in the same boat as Stokes as he won’t be able to play for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL playoffs.
“Cash is one thing, and I know in this country they like to talk cash, cash, cash with IPL, but for his development – have a look at the tweet that Buttler put out last night, how much he loved the experience – playing with those players, coached by Mahela Jayawardene,” Pietersen added. “It’s just incredible for your learning and your development as a player to play in these conditions. I promise you, you can learn a heck of a lot from playing in India.
“The one thing that all international players learn from is the ability to go to India, to have success in India, to have friends in India, which makes [it easier] travelling the sub-continent – which are big, big tours because the BCCI is where the money is at.”
In the 12 matches that he played, Stokes scored 316 runs, which included a century and a fifty, at an average of 31.60. He also took 12 wickets at an average of 26.33.
As for Buttler, he scored 272 runs in 10 matches, which included a half-century, at an average of 27.20.