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    England IPL players to miss play-offs to prepare for T20 World Cup
England IPL players to miss play-offs to prepare for T20 World Cup
And that's how Jos Buttler celebrated his match-winning century. Source: BCCI

England IPL players to miss play-offs to prepare for T20 World Cup

The ECB has declared members of England's T20 World Cup squad unavailable for the IPL play-offs and will call them home ahead of a four-match T20I series against Pakistan starting on 22 May. The decision is likely to affect Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals), Phil Salt (Kolkata Knight Riders) and Moeen Ali (Chennai Super Kings).

Rob Key, the England men's managing director, spoke to the players in the preliminary World Cup squad on Monday to inform them of their selection and told those involved in the IPL that they would not be available for the knockout stages. The play-offs run from 21-26 May and coincide with England's series in Pakistan.

The other players in England's World Cup and IPL squads include Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone (all Punjab Kings), Will Jacks and Reece Topley (both Royal Challengers Bengaluru). Both franchises have struggled this season and may need to win all their remaining group matches to qualify for the play-offs.

The players are expected to return to the UK on the weekend of May 18-19, which could rule them out of their respective franchises' final group matches. The group stage runs until 19 May and England iskeen to get their World Cup squad together for a few days before their first T20I since December.

Key revealed that Buttler, who scored two centuries for table-topping Rajasthan Royals, had instigated the decision to return home before the end of the IPL.

Buttler could still miss the start of the Pakistan series on paternity leave as he and his wife Louise are expecting their third child next month.

But he said England's management had decided that the Pakistan series would help them clarify the roles of the players ahead of their opening T20 World Cup match against Scotland on June 4.

Other boards have taken different approaches to the clashes between the T20I series and the IPL play-offs. The BCB pulled Mustafizur Rahman out of the IPL early for a series against Zimbabwe, while New Zealand fielded a second-string team in Pakistan earlier this month. The CSA will allow their players to remain in India for the play-offs, although they will clash with a three-match series against the West Indies.

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