Free at last: England players allowed to play in IPL

January 23rd, 2009 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 23 (IANS) England cricketers rejoiced after their cricket board gave them the go-ahead to take three weeks off for the Indian Premier League (IPL), ending a months-old standoff between players and the game’s administrators. Allrounders Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are expected to lead the way for English cricketers headed for the IPL auction after having to sit out the opening Twenty20 championship on account of a clash in dates and an abortive bid by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to set up a rival tournament.

An agreement reached between the players and the ECB Thursday will allow as many as 13 England players to sign up for IPL teams.

“The contracts have now been signed by the players and we were just waiting on the IPL to come back with the confirmation that they are OK with 21 days from us,” said allrounder and former captain Paul Collingwood.

“We are used to the kind of schedules we’ve got as we’ve had busier in the past so I think the players will have peace of mind they can go and earn a few bucks which will make them a lot happier.”

“What we will be doing if we go is playing against the best players in the world and hitting balls, that is important,” said Collingwood, who, at his best, can be a match-winner and an electrifying fielder.

Apart from Pietersen, Flintoff and Collingwood, England players headed for India are said to include Stuart Broad, Owais Shah, Steve Harmison, Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright.

Three players - Dmitri Mascarenhas, Samit Patel and Graham Napier - have already been signed up.

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