Finally, Pietersen wants to play for IPL, faces dismissal

April 8th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 8 (IANS) In a move that could galvanise other players, star all-rounder Kevin Pietersen has said the English cricket board should create a gap in the domestic schedule so that he and other England players can play in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL). But his call was swiftly rejected by England Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, risking an all-out collision between the board and English players who have been banned from playing in the billion-dollar IPL.

The ECB has banned cricketers centrally contracted to it from playing in the IPL because the championship clashes with the English domestic county season.

But Pietersen Monday said he wants to play in the next season’s championship.

“It’s not something we can control, but it’s definitely something that the hierarchy needs to fix into our fixtures,” said Pietersen, who has complained that West Indies captain Chris Gayles has been taunting him with text messages with the $$$ (dollar) sign all over it.

“You want your best players playing both for their country and for the IPL. You don’t want them choosing between the two. It’s silly to think that you’re losing up to a million (dollars) over six weeks,” the South Africa born Pietersen said.

“As long as it doesn’t interfere with me playing for England, then I’m all for the IPL. I won’t jeopardise my England career for the IPL just yet, but the schedules have to be sorted because the England players are the only ones missing out.

“There are guys in our team who could be earning a lot of money,” Pietersen added.

But the ECB’s Clarke risked a potential conflict with Pietersen and other England players such as Andrew Flintoff and Monty Panesar by saying next year’s IPL championship was too close to the summer’s England-Australia Ashes series.

“Kevin Pietersen receives not insignificant rewards,” said Clarke.

“We are putting on board significant rewards for winning series. People who turn up exhausted from the IPL are not necessarily going to be in a position to help their fellows earn those rewards. Cricket is a team game.”

However, Clarke conceded that Pietersen and other players were free to reject a new contract with the ECB, which would enable them to play for England on a match-by-match basis.

The players’ contracts in such a case would be with their county - Hampshire, in Pietersen’s case, has already released Dmitri Mascarenhas to play for the IPL.

“It would free (Pietersen) up, and it’s a risk he would take,” Clarke said.

“KP runs the risk as anybody does of losing his place. Employment contracts are not compulsory, but if you are not employed you run the risks. Cricket careers can come to an end as well as a beginning. Thirty years ago Tony Greig thought it was important to play in World Series Cricket and Ian Botham appeared to replace him from pretty much (from) nowhere,” Clarke warned.

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