England must stop their players from participating in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL) to improve their Test side, former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said on Wednesday.
England’s Test squad came under criticism after they lost the five-match Ashes series 4-0 against Australia, a result which led to the departure of head coach Chris Silverwood, batting coach Graham Thorpe and managing director Ashley Giles.
Arthur, who joined English county Derbyshire as head of cricket after stepping down as Sri Lanka coach late last year, said county cricket is not to be blamed for England’s poor performance in Tests in recent years.
“England haven’t scored enough runs. It’s as simple as that," Arthur told The Times. ”If you want to lay the blame, you can lay it right there. County cricket isn’t to blame. For so long county cricket has been a really good producer of international players. I don’t think there’s a problem with the system … If you want the strength early season, unfortunately you are going to have to stop the players going to the IPL.
”They are playing there in the early part of the season just before the first Tests. You need your best players playing county cricket preparing for that.”
England have reinvented themselves as a one-day cricket powerhouse since their early exit from the 2015 World Cup, winning the next edition of the format’s biggest title on home soil.
But their record in the longest format of the game has been less impressive in recent years, with the final Ashes Test loss marking their 15th consecutive Test in Australia without a win.
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