Decks cleared for England players to play in IPL

May 28th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

London, May 28 (IANS) The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) seemed to have cleared the decks for its players to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as it announced a West Indies tour itinerary for next year that does not clash with the Indian Twenty20 competition. England’s tour to West Indies ends April 3 with a one-day international in St. Lucia, a week before the start of the IPL, which runs until May 29. If England coach Peter Moores gives his blessing, Kevin Pietersen and other English players will be able to play the entire IPL, returning to England for the World Twenty20 in June and the Ashes series that follows, according to a report in the Guardian.

Pietersen is the most sought after England player by the Indian franchises and can expect a $2 million jackpot from the IPL.

Pietersen’s agent Adam Wheatley said: “Kevin Pietersen would be fantastic in IPL. It is very difficult to ignore the fact that England players want to play in the IPL and it is fair to say that the ECB have now accepted that this is an issue. It is impossible to justify to players without any basis of logic that they cannot play in the IPL when the best players in the world are doing so.”

Pietersen has not disguised his annoyance over missing the 2008 tournament.

England are due to host a tour from Zimbabwe in May 2009. But if Robert Mugabe’s government remains in power in that African country, cancellation would seem inevitable - even though Prime Minister Gordon Brown has yet to say whether he would advise that the tour should be called off.

If it does take place, England may field an experimental side.

The ECB’s concern about injuries in the IPL ahead of the Ashes, which has been expressed by chairman Giles Clarke, has been toned down, the report said.

Other England players likely to attract Indian suitors include the one-day captain Paul Collingwood, Stuart Broad, Matt Prior, Sajid Mahmood, Ravi Bopara and Monty Panesar. Andrew Flintoff has said that an absence from the Test side for 18 months because of injury makes the 2009 Ashes series his priority.

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