IPL exposure is leaving England behind
Andrew Flintoff has blamed England's dismal show in the ongoing One-day series squarely on their non-participation in the Indian Premier League, which he believes has helped Indian players develop their game by leaps and bounds.
"I think through playing the shorter form of the game, they (India) have developed new skills with both bat and ball, and we have been found wanting a little bit," Flintoff said.
"Their game has developed through playing Twenty20 cricket, you just have to look at the way the guys hit the ball and the positions they get into. You also look at the bowling skills that Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma have too. They are developing slower balls and yorkers."
The England all-rounder also sought to clarify that the reason for his teammates' keenness to play in the IPL was not just the big bucks they could earn through it.
"A few of our players are keen to go to the IPL. The thing that most people write about when they mention the IPL is the financial rewards, but it should also be looked at as something that helps with a player's development," Flintoff told Independent.
However, England players are yet to know if they would get a chance to play in the second edition of IPL due to ongoing tussle between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the IPL organisers.
IPL are keen to ensure that English cricketers to commit their presence in the event but ECB is ready to release the players only for a limited period which was not okayed by IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi. Besides, the dates also coincides with their home series against Sri Lanka in April next year.
The England players have not yet signed their central contract with their Board as they want the assurance that they will released for the second IPL edition, which clashes with the Lanka tour.
Flintoff also reckoned that the bang-slam format has not only helped Indian players but players worldwide.
"It is not just the Indian players who have benefited from it and taken their game forward. Look at Chris Gayle from the West Indies, he has too. We have a Twenty20 World Cup in England next summer and it would be good if the lads were given the chance to have a go in India," he said.
Flintoff admitted that India emerged the superior side in the One-dayers and urged his teammates to take cricketing lessons from the remaining matches for the Test series.
"India are a very strong side and they have outplayed us in every department in each of the four games. We have three games left and we have to take something out of them.
"We can't win the One-day series but we have to try to take something in to the Test series, which starts in three weeks' time," he said.