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Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Monday, 4 May 2009 18:55 UK

IPL stars under-prepared - Flower

First Test: England v West Indies
Venue: Lord's Dates: 6-10 May Start: 1100 BST
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 Long Wave, Red Button and online, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live on Sky Sports


England's Paul Collingwood has not played competitive cricket for a month
Collingwood has been carrying the drinks for Delhi at the IPL

England team director Andy Flower has admitted that some of his side are "under-prepared" for Wednesday's first Test against West Indies at Lord's.

Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara have all been away with the Indian Premier League in South Africa.

And Flower told BBC Radio 5 Live: "They are (under-prepared), without a doubt, with regard to first-class cricket."

Windies skipper Chris Gayle, who had also been involved in the IPL, joined up with their squad on Monday.

Gayle played in seven games for the Kolkata Knight Riders, while Pietersen had six outings as captain of the Bangalore Royal Challengers and Bopara featured in five games for the King's XI Punjab.

Neither Collingwood nor England team-mate Owais Shah, who was dropped from the Test squad for this Test, have played in any games for the Delhi Daredevils.

It means Collingwood enters the first Test without having played competitive cricket since England's final one-day international in the Caribbean on 3 April.

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In January, before Flower took charge of the team, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) allowed its centrally contracted players a three-week window to play in the IPL, which was shortened after the tournament was switched to South Africa on security grounds.

Flower continued: "That is ECB policy, that they were allowed to go to the IPL in the first place.

"But they have had a superb experience, the atmosphere of the tournament has excited them about the game and they have come back really energised for the season ahead."

Of the other English players in the IPL, all-rounder Andrew Flintoff returned home after three games for the Chennai Super Kings to have knee surgery which has ruled him out of the West Indies series.

Dimitri Mascarenhas has played in five out of six games for Rajasthan Royals while Graham Napier, who like Mascarenhas is not contracted to the ECB, played just once for Mumbai Indians.

Meanwhile, Flower has moved to reassure batsmen Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell, as well as paceman Steve Harmison, that the door is not closed on them ahead of this summer's Ashes.

Bell has been named in the squad for the ODI series which follows the Tests, although Harmison appears to be out in the cold following a poor series in the Caribbean, and Vaughan has not played for England since relinquishing the captaincy last summer.

But Flower said: "These are guys that can play a huge part in the summer.

"We are leaving Ian Bell to score some more runs in first-class cricket, and he has had a lovely start to the season.

Chris Gayle
Gayle was in action for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL on Sunday

"Unfortunately for him Ravi Bopara is getting his chance at number three, that is the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

"Michael Vaughan is a quality player and a quality bloke - we want to see him scoring heaps of runs and pushing to get into the Ashes Test series.

"He could have a great few years left in cricket. But he had a tough summer in all sorts of ways last year and we are only a few weeks into this season.

"He has worked really hard on his game, he is as fit as I have ever seen him, and is very clear about his game. He just needs to get some runs on the board."

West Indies skipper Gayle was allowed to delay his arrival as he had an IPL match for Kolkata against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, while bowler Fidel Edwards flew to London on Sunday having finished his own IPL stint.

And Windies coach John Dyson has admitted the timing of their return has hampered the team's preparations for the first Test.

"It's not enough time for an ideal preparation [for a Test] but we will work with it," said Dyson.

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"The medical boys all say that, after that length of flight, you need a minimum of a couple of days to get over the jet lag and re-acclimatise and then you need a couple of days of practice."

An under-strength Windies side was thrashed by 10 wickets by the England Lions in Derby over the weekend.


England (from): Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, James Anderson, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar.

West Indies (from): Chris Gayle (capt), Denesh Ramdin (wk), Lionel Baker, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Brendan Nash, Nelon Pascal, Dale Richards, Andrew Richardson, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor.



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see also
Bopara sets his sights on Ashes
03 May 09 |  England
West Indies slump to warm-up loss
02 May 09 |  England
Windies preparations hit by rain
27 Apr 09 |  West Indies
Windies begin tour without stars
19 Apr 09 |  West Indies
England overlook Bell and Vaughan
29 Apr 09 |  England
Flintoff to undergo knee surgery
24 Apr 09 |  England
England stars get IPL green light
27 Jan 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
West Indies in England 2009
04 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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