IPL 2017: Nasser Hussain backs England's decision to pull Ben Stokes out of playoffs
Former skipper disagrees with Kevin Pietersen's views on the issue.
What’s the story?
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain has backed England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to pull Ben Stokes out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs. When asked if the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) all-rounder should be allowed to play in the final, the 49-year-old insisted that preparation for the upcoming Champions Trophy was more important than the summit clash.
“The reason he (Stokes) got an IPL deal was because of how wonderful he has been for England - and when England tell you to go, you go and when they tell you to turn up to a training camp you turn up to a training camp to prepare for a tournament that we have underachieved in for 20 (to) 30 years.
“I think England are right to have their players back. What difference would one innings in a final have made to Ben Stokes? He might have slogged it up in the air and got out third ball,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
Ahead of the playoffs, Stokes was ordered by the ECB to join his national team-mates for their pre-season camp in Spain. Alongside him, Mumbai Indians’ Jos Buttler and Kolkata Knight Riders’ Chris Woakes were also asked to report to the training camp.
The heart of the matter
ECB’s move to prevent their leading stars from gaining valuable experience in the business stages of the IPL attracted the ire of former captain Kevin Pietersen. The flamboyant 36-year-old went on to question the purpose of the training camp in Spain.
On the other hand, Hussain has sided with the ECB on the issue. Pointing towards the opportunity for England to end their trophy drought in global 50-overs tournaments, he believed that the players should take the decision as a chance to gel as a unit ahead of the Champions Trophy.
RPS will take on Mumbai Indians in the IPL final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday. Three days later, England begin their 3-match ODI series against South Africa at Headingley. The all-important Champions Trophy is set to start on June 1.
The ECB are well within their right to summon Stokes as well as the other contracted players back for national duty. However, the experience of playing in knockout matches in front of packed crowds could have proved to be ideal preparation for the England stars ahead of the Champions Trophy.