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Eyes off the ball

Were the IPL auctions such a big distraction for the English Test team?

india Updated: Feb 12, 2009 21:41 IST
Hindustan Times

It’s not an English idiom, but ‘Blame the courtyard if you can’t dance’ could well apply to those Blighters blaming England’s disastrous performance in the First Test against the West Indies — 51 all out — on the tempting siren song made a continent away. Former England captain Graham Gooch has no doubts that the English cricketers were distracted by the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction that was underway last Friday in faraway Goa while they were playing the Test match. Ok, if millions of dollars were pouring in from all sides into your bank account from over-keen bidders, even your concentration at your workplace would have suffered.

But today’s cricketers should be made of sterner stuff. Advertising and endorsement duties make today’s best master multi-taskers on and off the field. So when two former English captains — Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff — dominated the IPL auction and fetched a cool $1.55 million each, were they unprepared for the multi-tasking exercise involved in playing with a straight bat and crossing one’s fingers at the same time? Going by Gooch’s analysis, it would seem so.

The English team — from which five players are part of the IPL — have, however, denied the accusation. Pietersen insists that he didn’t miss his precious forty winks while the auction was on. As a variation of the English idiom goes: We think the gentleman protests too much.

First Published: Feb 12, 2009 21:39 IST