IPL will help WI players – Grave
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Cricket West Indies (CWI) says it does not anticipate any disruption to the squad’s preparation for the ICC World Cup due to the scheduled late arrival of key players from the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Seven players, led by talismanic vice-captain Chris Gayle, only joined up with the West Indies squad last Saturday for the pre-tournament camp at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, after completing their IPL stints.
This meant that Gayle, along with all-rounders Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite, batsmen Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran, along with fast-bowler Oshane Thomas, all missed the just-concluded Tri-Nations Series in Ireland – West Indies’ last one-day assignment before the World Cup bowls off on May 30.
But unlike several other cricket boards which opted to recall its players early from the IPL, CWI Chief Executive Johnny Grave said the Caribbean body believed the high-profile Twenty20 tournament served as adequate preparation for the World Cup.
“Playing in the IPL and playing in front of millions of people watching on TV, thousands of people in packed stands in big stadiums, many people will say that in terms of preparing for World Cup – where the eyes of the world are watching you and the stadiums in England, from my understanding will have capacity crowds for all games – some people will argue the IPL is better preparation than just sort of warming up or playing games where maybe the context and the pressure isn’t quite the same,” Grave said in a radio interview here.
“We also took the view that it was important that rather than disrupt what was happening in Ireland, we would leave that squad with real clarity that they were playing in all the games.”
The 15-man World Cup squad gathered in Southampton last weekend to begin their final preparation for the one-day showpiece, which runs until July 14.
West Indies will climax the camp with a warm-up match against defending World Cup champions Australia, before heading to Bristol where they take on South Africa on May 26 and New Zealand two days later in official warm-ups.
Grave said CWI had factored rest for the IPL players into their planning, and had also added the fixture against Australia to the schedule, to ensure that these arriving players had sufficient ODI practice in the buildup to the World Cup.
“We’ve also said to the players, ‘You’ve been in India for almost two months. We’ll let you come back into the Caribbean, come and spend a week with your family and friends and recharge’, because, again, the World Cup is no short tournament – it’s not a couple of weeks,” Grave explained.
“It’s almost two months in the UK and nine internationals plus these three friendlies that we’ve got, so we’re fairly confident. One of the reasons why we lined up the extra warm-up game against Australia was to just ensure that the IPL players themselves had enough match preparation.
“Hopefully, they will be adequate for our players and, hopefully, we can sort of manage the workload and make sure everyone is in top nick, in top form, when it comes to the first game at Trent Bridge.”
There had been concern in certain quarters about the West Indies IPL players being allowed to arrive just two weeks before the side’s first game against Pakistan on May 31 in Nottingham.
Players like Russell and Lewis have not played a competitive ODI in nearly a year, while Brathwaite, who featured in the home series against England in March, played in just two matches in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders.