Chris Gayle urges English cricketers to play in 'fantastic' IPL

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Hertfordshire (England), June 9: West Indies hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayle has hailed the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a "fantastic" tournament and urged England cricketers to participate in the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.

"England has some quality players - Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root - those guys can hurt you. They are match winners," Gayle was quoted as saying by telegraph.co.uk on Monday.

Chris Gayle in action during an IPL match

"Playing against other guys in different competitions would definitely help them. Look at Indian cricket at the moment. They are dominating all forms of the game now and the reason is the IPL," the 35-year-old added.

"The players touch shoulders with their international opponents. They share the same dressing rooms. They know what they are thinking. Then they become bolder, performing for their countries. That is because of IPL and it is fantastic," he said.

The left-handed batsman also came in full support of English exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen, stating him as a perfect entertainer and someone who should be playing for England.

"He should be playing for England; there are no two ways about it. They England Cricket Board (ECB) must have their reasons but we would love to see your best player in action, out in the middle, entertaining," he said.

"It doesn't matter what format, Test, 50-over, Twenty20 -- he's a class player, one of the best players England has ever produced. But it's your loss. KP is looking forward to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). (If) England doesn't want him, we will take him."

'Australia favourites for Ashes'

"He will entertain the fans. We will make some sales off him, sell some tickets. It should be fantastic. The CPL is going to be one big party," Gayle, who recently took his tally in three NatWest T20 Blast innings to 328 runs, said.

Gayle also said Australia will be happy to face England in the upcoming Ashes series without England's biggest and best batsman Pietersen.

"I would think they are happy to face England without their biggest and best batsman. Australia is definitely the favourites for sure," he said.

"But we'll see. I think the first Test will set the tone and decide the series. England is always strong at home but they need to be adventurous and aggressive. That is what cricket is about now," Gayle concluded.

IANS

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