Wasim Akram slams England players for prioritizing Pakistan series over IPL

England will face Pakistan in the first of the four T20 matches in Leeds on Wednesday

Wasim Akram slams England players for prioritizing Pakistan series over IPL PHOTO: IPL

Several Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises are facing a significant loss of star power as numerous England players have departed ahead of the playoffs due to international commitments.

Notable English cricketers like Jos Buttler, Will Jacks, Reece Topley, Phil Salt, Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow, and Liam Livingstone have left the IPL to participate in a home T20I series against Pakistan.

This decision has sparked considerable criticism, particularly from former Indian cricketers such as Sunil Gavaskar and Irfan Pathan, who have voiced their displeasure over the timing of the players' departure.

Irfan Pathan even suggested that if overseas players are unable to commit to the entire IPL season, they should reconsider participating altogether.

Pakistani cricket legend Wasim Akram shared similar sentiments.

"If you cut salaries, will it affect anything if your team doesn't win after reaching the playoffs? You've put in all the hard work and in the last hurdle, your boys leave because they have to play for the country. It's not fair," Akram stated during a discussion on Sportskeeda.

He emphasized the frustration felt by fans, team owners, and captains when key players leave at a crucial stage of the tournament. "So, I agree with Irfan [Pathan], come for the entire tournament or don't come at all," he added.

Sunil Gavaskar also criticized the early departure of the England stars, echoing the frustration of many within the IPL community.

Conversely, former England captain Michael Vaughan defended the players' decision to return for the series against Pakistan.

"If you are going back to represent your country, which England players have done, I think that's fair enough. They are playing a series against Pakistan. The England players wouldn't have gone back if it wasn't for the Pakistan series," Vaughan told Cricbuzz.

Vaughan pointed out that the series was scheduled well in advance and stressed the importance of England's preparation for the upcoming 50-over World Cup, especially after a lackluster defense of their title in India.

He argued that having the squad together for the series against Pakistan would enhance their chances in the World Cup.

Defending the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision, England captain Jos Buttler stated that international cricket should not clash with the IPL.

"I said, 'Look, as an England captain, my main priority is to be playing for England,'" Buttler told reporters on Tuesday.

He expressed his belief that international fixtures should not coincide with the IPL, emphasizing that the games against Pakistan had been scheduled 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," he added.

England will face Pakistan in the first of the four T20 matches in Leeds on Wednesday.