ICL: Indian Cricket League

Off-field issues have an impact - Nielsen


The Indian Premier League (IPL) and doubts over next month’s tour of Pakistan are weighing on the minds of Australia’s players, according to the coach Tim Nielsen. However, Nielsen believes his men are not becoming too bogged down in such problems on the field.

Australia completed a 50-run win over India in Adelaide on Sunday - the same day they were due to return their signed IPL contracts - but their batting remained a concern, with only Michael Clarke’s 79 lifting them to a competitive 203. Ricky Ponting failed again, later saying his slump was nothing to do with off-field worries, but Nielsen said the players did have a lot to think about.

“[The IPL] is a big one because there’s been a few clashes of ideas from a cricketers association point of view and Cricket Australia and even the IPL,” Nielsen said. “It’ll be nice to have some certainty, a bit the same with Pakistan. But until the decision-makers get all the information they can we have to live with what’s going on and make sure we perform.”

Most of Australia’s leading players are expected to be auctioned off to IPL teams on Wednesday after Cricket Australia finally cleared them to take part in the tournament. However, it is still unclear whether they will be able to play in this year’s league as it clashes with the scheduled visit to Pakistan, which remains in doubt due to safety concerns.

“There’s no doubt those things going on have an impact on players,” Nielsen said. “It’s the same as anyone goes to work and there’s issues with their kids at school or a promotion they’re looking for and they don’t get it. All those things make it difficult. I guess we pride ourselves that once we get to the ground we can keep most of those things separate.”

However, Australia’s results do not necessarily back up Nielsen’s comments. Andrew Symonds has voiced his strong opinions on the IPL and the Pakistan tour and he is suffering a CB Series slump with 38 runs from five innings. Ponting, as captain, understandably bears much of the team’s strain and has only 53 runs from his five matches. Matthew Hayden’s output has also been low, although Nielsen pointed out that Sri Lanka and India were also struggling to post big totals.

“To say we’re all batting poorly is maybe not far from the mark but at the same time it’s been credit to all the teams that their bowlers have bowled very well,” Nielsen said. “We’re underselling the bowling a little bit. [Ishant] Sharma’s bowled beautifully and the Indians have bowled really well as a group. Our blokes have done a brilliant job.

“You’ve got four or five guys in this series bowling 140-145kph plus, the new ball’s swinging away, the old ball’s reversing in, it’s not an easy life for a batsman. It’s certainly not panic stations, but it’s probably unusual that we’ve had three or four guys missing out at the one time and that’s what’s happening.”

The Australians are now enjoying a few days in their home cities before reconvening in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of Friday’s game against Sri Lanka. Australia sit on top of the CB Series table and can secure a place in the finals if they win at the MCG.

Source:Cricket News

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