England's fast bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson have resisted the temptation to cash in on their Ashes-winning reputations by playing in next year's Indian Premier League. The seam duo would have expected to attract lucrative offers from IPL franchises ahead of next year's third edition of the lucrative Twenty20 competition but have instead opted to focus their energies on their international careers.
Andrew Flintoff injured his knee on IPL duty last year and Kevin Pietersen was forced to deny claims he aggravated his Achilles problem while training with Bangalore Royal Challengers. Now both Anderson and Broad have opted to reduce their potential workload by ruling out a trip to the sub-continent in March. In a statement released by the pair's management agency, Broad emphasised the importance of keeping himself in prime condition for England.
"Whilst the chance to play in the IPL is potentially a great opportunity, my number one priority is, and always will be, to represent my country," the Nottinghamshire bowler said, who also declined to put his name forward for the 2009 edition. "The IPL is a tournament I would like to play in at some stage in the future but my international career is my sole focus at this stage in my career, so I have decided I will not be competing in next year's IPL.
"I am living my boyhood dream to be playing cricket for England and the possibility of being selected to travel to Australia next year, with the aim of retaining the Ashes, would be a great honour. "There's a brilliant atmosphere and team spirit within the England dressing room, and I want to be an important member of a winning England team over the next few years. "From a personal point of view, the last time England won the Ashes in Australia was in 1987 when my father was playing so it would be fantastic to mirror his achievement next year, which is why I shall be focusing 100 per cent on cementing my place in the England team."
The Lancashire bowler Anderson cited similar reasons for his decision to opt out. "I am proud to be playing cricket for England and my international career is more important than anything which is why I have decided not to compete in the IPL in 2010," said the 27-year-old. "Taking on Australia next winter is going to be a huge challenge and one that I am fully committed to. "I want to be an integral part of the first England cricket team to retain the Ashes since 1972 and I will be giving myself the best possible chance of achieving that by not playing in the IPL.
"The England cricket team has a busy schedule in 2010 and I'd like to be playing for England as much as possible." * PA Sport