England: Chris Gayle, the prolific West Indies opener, has urged English players to take part in the Indian Premier League to better understand the game-plan of their international opponents.
"England has some quality players - Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root - those guys can hurt you," Gayle, currently in England playing for Somerset in the NatWest T20 League, told The Telegraph. "They are match winners. Playing against other guys in different competitions would definitely help them. Look at Indian cricket at the moment. They are dominating all forms of the game now and the reason is the IPL ".
"The players touch shoulders with their international opponents. They share the same dressing rooms. They know what they are thinking. Then they become bolder, performing for their countries. That is because of IPL and it is fantastic."
Gayle threw his lot behind Kevin Pietersen, the exiled English batsman, saying he was a great entertainer and should definitely still be playing for England.
"He should be playing for England, there are no two ways about it," says Chris. "They (The England and Wales Cricket Board) must have their reasons but we would love to see your best player in action, out in the middle, entertaining.
"It doesn't matter what format - Test, 50-over, Twenty20 - he's a class player, one of the best players England has ever produced. But it's your loss. KP is looking forward to the Caribbean Premier League. (If) England doesn't want him, we will take him.
"He will entertain the fans. We will make some sales off him, sell some tickets. It should be fantastic. The CPL is going to be one big party," said Gayle, who plays for Jamaica Tallawahs in West Indies's local T20 tournament.
With the Ashes coming up in July, Gayle said," Australia would be happy to face an England side without Pietersen ".
"I would think they are happy to face England without their biggest and best batsman," he said. "I think Australia probably find it all quite amusing. Australia is definitely the favourites for sure. But we'll see. I think the first Test will set the tone and decide the series. England is always strong at home but they need to be adventurous and aggressive. That is what cricket is about now."