‘England could have done without IPL distraction’

Even as coach Andy Flower admitted England buckled under West Indies pressure in the first Test where they were skittled out for their third lowest total in history....

Written by Agencies | Kingston | Published: February 10, 2009 1:55 am

Even as coach Andy Flower admitted England buckled under West Indies pressure in the first Test where they were skittled out for their third lowest total in history,former England skipper Graham Gooch blamed poor preparation,the lack of a full-time coach and the distraction of the Indian Premier League auction for their disastrous 51 all out and innings-defeat to the West Indies.

England were dismissed for just 51 at Sabina Park to lose by an innings and 23 runs on Saturday with a day and a session to spare. “I think the bottomline is that the players have to take responsibility for not handling the pressure situation very well and not getting through it,” said Flower.

But Gooch said he believed that Friday’s IPL auction of players ahead of this season’s Twenty20 competition in India also contributed to England’s poor performance in Kingston.

“The England team says there has been no distraction with the IPL,” Gooch said. “But when all these background influences are going on—Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff fetched record salaries of $1.55 million each at the auction — it’s not the best environment to give your best performances.”

Flower acknowledged this was not the first time that this has happened,nor does he believe it would not be the last time. “Things like this happen in international sport,and it has happened too often to us,” he said.

Flower,however,thinks it’s not the time for pointing fingers. “The guys are very hurt about what happened,” he said. “Playing for England or playing for your country is a very proud moment for anyone.

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