David Gower acknowledged that the England Cricket Board took some time to accept the positive impact of the IPL on modern-day cricketers. Gower gave the example of how Jos Buttler has emerged as one of the best players in white-ball cricket on the back of his IPL experience.
The England Cricket Board has often prioritized national team duties over the IPL in the past. However, with the T20 World Cup around the corner, the ECB has given its IPL bound players clearance to play the tournament even though England will be in action in a two-match Test series against New Zealand.
Former England captain David Gower acknowledged how the IPL has improved cricketers over the past few years.
"Alongside the financial riches, the IPL also offers an extraordinary experience, and I think it took a while for the ECB to accept that the IPL offered their players education, valuable experience and could actually help them develop as cricketers, which it has done; people like Buttler have come through to prominence because of the IPL and their experiences there.” Gower said to The Telegraph.
England even went on to rotate their IPL-bound players for the tour against India. The likes of Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow, who are seen as all-format players for England, were not available for the entire series against India, keeping the IPL in mind.
"Loyalty to one’s country would be appreciated"- Former England cricketer David Gower
David Gower, though, made clear that when it comes to representing the country and the franchise, a player's loyalty should lie with the country first. Speaking on the subject of some English players missing the first Test against New Zealand, Gower said:
"This comes down to the subject of loyalty. It asks if you’re going to be more loyal to your international team or to a franchise which might or might not throw you out next year. Obviously, if you’re playing well, they aren’t going to do that. But yeah, it’s an interesting scenario. Now, when you narrow it down a bit, I think a certain sort of sense of honour and loyalty to one’s country would be appreciated,”
The IPL playoffs are set to begin on May 25. Meanwhile, England are scheduled to play the first Test against New Zealand on June 2. With new COVID-19 protocols, players will have to report early to the national team to be part of the bio bubble. Therefore, English players whose team make the IPL playoffs will miss the first Test against the Kiwis.