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Steve Harmison pitches in favour of IPL

cricket Updated: Nov 23, 2008 14:40 IST

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Pacer Steve Harmison has stepped up the pressure on the England cricket board to allow players to sign for the Indian Premier League saying Indians have benefitted from the Twenty20 event which was apparent in their domination of his side in the one-day series so far.

Harmison said given a choice between playing in the IPL and for the country, England players would choose national colours but said playing in the Twenty20 event would only benefit them.

"Even though we haven't signed our central contracts yet because we have no idea how long players may be available for the IPL, if it came to a straight choice between playing for England and playing in the IPL, I cannot believe any of our guys would turn their back on their country.

"Yet watching how the Indian players have gone about their skills in the current one-day series it is clear to me that playing in the IPL has helped them improve in vital areas and had a huge benefit on their team," Harmison was quoted as saying by 'Daily Mail'.

The England pacer said Twenty20 cricket like the IPL has brought changes in the one-day format and scores of 260-275 has become insufficient and batsmen are now looking for a minimum of 290-300 every time.

"And the danger for England is that if our players are not involved in the IPL in future we could get left far behind. Yuvraj (Singh) ... Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan have shown what they've learned from the high-pressure demands and challenges ... In the IPL. Batsmen are no longer content to look for 260-275 as par scores, and are now looking for a minimum of 290-300 every time."

"And, what is more, they have practised the shots they need to hit the ball for six, not just over the ropes but out of the ground, often enough to get there. It's the same for their bowlers. Having to try to restrict top batsmen in the death overs, bowlers such as Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Yuvraj himself have learned the arts and crafts of taking the pace off the ball with slower deliveries, yorkers, dead balls and so on," said Harmison.