T20 World Cup: Priority is to play for England, says Jos Buttler on his decision to recall England players early from IPL

London, May 21:  England T20I captain Jos Buttler feels that his decision to bring back English players early from the Indian Premier League (IPL) will help them prepare better for next month’s T20 World Cup in the USA and the Caribbean. Buttler along with eight England players returned home after leaving their respective franchises last week. IPL’s league stage concluded on Sunday and knockout matches started on Tuesday. Buttler, Will Jacks, Reece Topley, and Phil Salt were scheduled to play in the playoffs if they had stayed in India. Buttler said playing for England remains his priority as the reigning T20 champions will take on Pakistan in the five-match home T20I series, starting on Wednesday. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Rob Key had said that Buttler wanted to bring players home from India to get along before heading to the West Indies and the USA for the T20 extravaganza. “I said, ‘Look, as an England captain, my main priority is to be playing for England. It’s my personal opinion that there shouldn’t be any international cricket that clashes with the IPL. I think that these games have been on the calendar for a long time. Of course, leading into a World Cup, your No. 1 priority is playing for England and performing for England. I feel like this is the best preparation,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Buttler as saying on Tuesday. The move has not received any reaction from the teams apart from Indian media. However, England all-rounder and Punjab Kings stand-in captain Sam Curran backed his captain and said it would allow the group to bond with each other well. “It was a decision that was made, that it was probably the right thing for us all to come back. It was only fair for all franchises to lose a player each or so…it would have been quite harsh if some franchises got to keep a couple of players and then some didn’t,” Curran said. “I think Jos, Motty [Matthew Mott], and Keysy wanted us all back together for this series. It makes great sense because obviously, we want to be playing as a team and get used to our roles. It’s quite hard when you go tournament to tournament, and then straight into a big tournament like [the World Cup] where you haven’t really played together,” he added. –IANS ab/bsk/

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