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Is IPL a distraction for England?

England's captain Andrew Strauss drops a catch as teammate James Anderson (left) looks on during a training session at Dubai International cricket stadium before the third cricket test match against Pakistan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates February 2, 2012 (REUTERS)


England captain Andrew Strauss disagreed the lucrative Indian league was a distraction for his team which faces a 3-0 defeat against Pakistan in the third and final Test starting here from Friday.

Pakistan won the first two Tests, the first here by ten wickets and the second by 72 runs in Abu Dhabi, to clinch an unassailable 2-0 lead.

And with Saturday's auction in the Indian Premier League (IPL) looming, Strauss was asked whether that would be a distraction for his players.

"I certainly hope not. I think we've had this circumstance before," the England captain said.

Names of several members of the current squad will appear in the auction to be held in Bangalore with James Anderson, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior and Chris Tremlett appearing favourites to be included.

Stuart Broad, Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen already have IPL contracts in place.

Strauss, who insisted he doesn't want to join the Twenty20 league, remained in the background as his team faced a whitewash -- the first in Pakistan-England Test history.

"I certainly remember Test matches in the past where this has been looming, in the background - and it is very much in the background.

"I would be very, very surprised if any of our players had their attention anywhere other than on the game at the moment - especially after what's happened over the last couple of Test matches. So it's not a big issue for us."

"I think we have become very comfortable with the fact that the (International Cricket Council) ICC have given our players the window to play in the IPL and that window stipulates that the guys have to have enough time when they come back home to prepare for our next series.

"So we all know where we stand with that. I certainly won't hold it against players who wanting go there and play. Most of the best players around the world are doing it.

"I with my Test staff want to make sure that they get enough time to prepare for the series against the West Indies that is coming up. We are comfortable with that, we have to wait and see who is picked up and how long he remains there."

The annual IPL tournament revolutionised cricket when it burst on to the scene in 2008 with lucrative contracts for international players, short matches and Bollywood glamour.

But the IPL was blamed for India's recent poor show in the five-day format, as they lost eight away Tests in a row -- four each in England and Australia -- in the last one year.