England players will not be released for tournament restart, says ECB director of cricket
While Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, admitted some players may be rested from the tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are likely to take place at the same time as the rearranged IPL, he said it “wouldn’t be for them to go and play cricket elsewhere”.
“I’m not aware of anything official, any requests to shift anything,” Giles, speaking at the launch of IG as the new official partner of England Cricket, said. “As far as we’re concerned and what we’re prepared for, the matches will be where they are. I’m not surprised there’s all sorts of speculation. Everyone wants to get their cricket in. But we’ve not received anything official and we’re cracking on.
“We have a full schedule. If we go from the end of the fifth Test in September, we are set to leave for Bangladesh on September 19 or 20. We have a full schedule right through including Pakistan and wherever the T20 World Cup is.
“We are going to have to give some of these guys a break at some point. But the intention of giving guys a break for, say, Bangladesh, wouldn’t be for them to go and play cricket elsewhere.
“We have to manage our schedule now, so we get our guys arriving in the best shape possible for the T20 World Cup and the Ashes.”
While the relationship between the ECB and BCCI appears reasonably good at present, this is the third IPL season (or part season) mooted within 12 months and there is an understanding that there is simply no more wriggle room in the congested schedule. The difference in approach from the recently abandoned IPL season – where England players were allowed to play ahead of involvement in the New Zealand Test series – is explained by the late arrangement of that Test series, which did not form part of the World Test Championship, and the pre-existing agreement to allow players to go to the IPL.
“I think we felt the best option was to [allow the IPL players to] take as much time as they needed after what they’ve been through this winter,” Giles said. “If there was a strong case from the players to get back on the horse a bit earlier and play some cricket then we were prepared to listen to that as well. They know their bodies and minds as well as anyone.
“That was the case with Billings. He went back to Kent and played some cricket to put himself in the frame.
“Communication was made from [head coach] Chris Silverwood to those players [Bairstow and Buttler] about what the plan was. We felt there was no need to go back on that. They’ve been spending time with families and Jos is away for a few days at the moment. We didn’t want to drag those players out of that at the 11th hour. There was no plan to change that.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo