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Cricket news - Buttler hopeful of a shortened IPL

Jos Buttler is still hopeful of a shortened Indian Premier League season taking place following the COVID-19 pandemic

Jos Buttler is still hopeful of a shortened Indian Premier League season taking place following the COVID-19 pandemic

England wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler is still hopeful of a shortened Indian Premier League season taking place following the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament was initially supposed to start on March 29 but was postponed until April 15.

With India entering a 21-day lockdown which will only end on April 14, it is highly unlikely the tournament will begin in the third week of April. "No news at the moment," Buttler told a Sky Sports Podcast. "We saw, initially, that it was going to be postponed. It's very hard to see this changing in the immediate future, so I don't see that as a possibility at the moment.

"Obviously, it's such a massive tournament for world cricket, so hopefully some of it can go ahead - perhaps a shortened tournament."

Buttler is currently training indoors with the ECB sending fitness equipment and a personalised training regime to its centrally contracted players with no action taking place. The 29-year-old also says he is using this break away from the game to spend some time at home. "Obviously, very strange circumstances, but it's actually quite nice to spend some time at home, be with our little girl and actually just be a dad for a bit. I've also been doing some Pilates with my Mrs, in my cricket gear," he said.

"The calendar is always so busy, so you're trying to find times when you can get a bit of a break, so I'm trying to use the time as a positive - although, of course, it's really unfortunate circumstances and very tough for everyone."

Buttler's teammate in the national side and in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals, Ben Stokes, has also revealed that he is training to ensure he is ready in case the T20 tournament kicks off next month at some stage. "At the moment my next competitive cricket is going to be in the IPL," Stokes told BBC Radio 5 Live. "That hasn't changed yet so I have to think I will be playing on April 20."

Even though Stokes acknowledges that the chances of the tournament taking place next month appears to be slim, the 28-year-old wants to be in good physical condition to ensure he isn't left behind. "I have to get my head round that I am playing even though in the back of my mind I know I am probably not," he said. "I have to build up and get myself physically in a position that if it does happen I am good to go.

"I cannot take three weeks off and expect the body to be ready for April 20 because it doesn't work like that. It might happen and if it does I don't want to be behind."

Stokes also admits that there will be a fair amount of advice coming his way in terms of travelling to the subcontinent when and if the tournament eventually gets underway. The England national team had to return from Sri Lanka earlier this month following the coronavirus outbreak. "There will be a lot of advice given to us and if it was an option to go we will have to take the sensible one," he said.

"I remember the day that we got told we were leaving Sri Lanka and it was midway through a warm-up game. Everyone was shell-shocked for half an hour in the changing room. It was such a weird feeling because we had been there for 10-12 days. We were building up to the first Test and then we were going home. But when you put everything together in terms of where the world was with the coronavirus, and what was being said on tour, it was the wrong place to be at that time and everyone's health is more important than anything else in the world," Stokes concluded.

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