Trevor Bayliss won’t risk fitness of England’s IPL stars

Trevor Bayliss has promised to cast a protective eye on England’s Indian Premier League contingent and will not allow any chances to be taken with their fitness.

Only eight of 24 England players were bought in the auction with Test captain Joe Root and his one-day counterpart Eoin Morgan among those who went unsold.

The IPL, which will be live on Sky Sports, begins on April 7 and is sandwiched between the tour of New Zealand and the start of the domestic season with first-choice England players Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali committed to almost two months of sub-continental cricket.

England head coach Bayliss insists no risks will be taken with contracted players and is confident the ECB would not hesitate to withdraw them if necessary.

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“We have important series on the way and if they have to come back early then they will,” he said.

“If they have niggles they will not go. If someone gets a bit of a niggle while they are there we will pull them back.”

Bayliss, a former IPL coach with Kolkata Knight Riders and well attuned to the benefits of the domestic T20 circuit, has been a driving force behind the increased availability of England players.

And Stokes’ experiences last year, when he was voted tournament MVP with Rising Pune Supergiant, make him even more convinced about the potential gains.

He said: “If we look at Stokes he was on fire last year. I’m not saying that will happen to everybody, but the way he batted when he came back it was a step up in class from where he was before.

“It is a learning curve for everyone. But just the experience they get playing in some of these tournaments against some of the best players in the world, with different coaches in different environments with big crowds is huge. I think in the past the English players have missed out on that.”

Jos Buttler, Sam Billings, Jason Roy and Chris Jordan are the four limited-overs specialists who landed contracts and will be available for the entire tournament unless required for Test duty.