London, May 6 (ANI): England cricket captain Andrew Strauss has said the ongoing second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has undermined his side's preparation for the Test series against the West Indies.
"The important thing is that Test cricket gets the attention it deserves. That means that people prepare themselves properly. You don't want Test cricket to be devalued in any shape or form. Certainly we wouldn't want our players arriving two days before," The Guardian quoted Strauss, as saying.
John Dyson, the West Indies coach, admitted: "It's not time for an ideal preparation for a Test match but we have to work with it."
Strauss added: "None of us want a situation where international cricket is competing against IPL cricket. That is unhealthy for the game, it is unhealthy for the IPL and most important of all it is unhealthy for the future of Test cricket."
It is difficult for England to stake out the moral high ground on this issue since two of their own IPL players, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, arrived home only on Friday and the coach, Andy Flower, admitted that both players would go into today's Test "under-prepared".
Gayle reacted to the issue with a shrug and a smile. "I was due to come here a day earlier, on Sunday, but we had a game and I got permission to stay. But we all knew the situation. We discussed it with board members and we got permission to get back at a particular time. I got permission. No one is bigger than the game. There was a debate about it. It was clarified and sorted out."
It is clear, though, that the West Indies board gave Gayle permission to return late only reluctantly, just as the England and Wales Cricket Board had serious misgivings about the involvement of Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff in the IPL. (ANI)