IPL has got it spot-on, Ashes setback due to decline in England’s four-day domestic cricket: Cork

Dismissing the blame levelled at the Indian Premier League for England's disastrous Ashes campaign Down Under, former England pacer Dominic Cork said the County Championship lacked overseas players and batters who could "bat all day".

Cork believes the IPL is the best T20 league in the world.   -  P.K. AJITH KUMAR

England has had a disastrous Ashes campaign Down Under. Some of the blame for it has been laid at the door of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by certain quarters.

Dominic Cork, however, begs to differ. “We will blame anything,” the former England pacer told Sportstar. “We will blame the IPL, The Hundred. The reason is that we just took the eye off Test cricket.”

He feels the reason is due more to the decline of the four-day domestic game in England. “We don’t have the quality we had back in the 1990s, when we had top overseas players,” said Cork, who is here as television commentator for the Legends League Cricket. “We used to have Mohammad Azharuddin, Michael Holding, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and many others.”

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Rueing the lack of batters such as Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart, Graham Gooch, Robin Smith, Alan Lamb and Mike Gatting in the English line-up, he said, “They could bat all day, I was lucky to play in that generation.”

India didn’t have much of a depth in pace bowling at that time. “India has come along greatly in fast bowling,” he said.

“Dennis Lillee and the MRF [Pace Foundation] began it all. Then Duncan Fletcher as a coach ensured that India had the firepower.”

He is impressed by India’s current pace battery. “I have seen them in the IPL and then developing into fine bowlers, like Navdeep Saini,” he said. “With spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and all the pacers, India could bowl any side out.”

However, he is not so sure about India playing four pacers in Tests. “That may be one too many, as it weakens the batting."

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Cork believes the IPL is the best T20 league in the world. “India has got it absolutely spot on,” he said. “You have the best players, from overseas and domestic. It is well-supported and you have full houses. The franchise cricket has worked well. The teams are adored by fans.”

Speaking about his experience commentating at the Dugout during the IPL, he said, “It’s a great concept. You have bowlers like Brett Lee and me explaining fast bowling and we have also players like Brian Lara and Graeme Swann.”

(The writer is in Muscat at the invitation of Legends League Cricket)

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